Italian Lawyer Tells President Obama and Congress to Repeal or Modify COOL by May 23
Billings, MT – At the behest of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Italian lawyer Giorgio Sacerdoti today issued his decision that U.S. President Barack Obama and the U.S. Congress have until May 23, 2013 to repeal or modify the United States’ country of origin labeling (COOL) law to conform with WTO law.
Sacerdoti’s decision was issued pursuant to complaints filed by Canada and Mexico that allege the United States was not acting fast enough to comply with the WTO’s June 29, 2012 ruling that found the United States’ COOL law to be a violation of WTO law.
In their WTO complaints, Canada argued the United States could comply with the WTO’s ruling simply by "removing muscle cuts of pork and beef from the commodities covered by the COOL measure," which Canada said the U.S. could do in six months or less. Similarly, Mexico stated the United States could repeal COOL entirely or change the origin rules so that meat derived from Mexican cattle that are slaughtered in the U.S. would bear a U.S.-origin label, which Mexico said the U.S. could do in eight months or less.
Sacerdoti decided that 10 months was a reasonable period of time for the United States to comply with the WTO’s ruling "either by modifying the COOL measure, or by repealing it with regard to muscle cuts of beef and pork."
"It is utterly ridiculous that our Great Nation is acting as if we are subservient to unelected foreigners at the WTO," said R-CALF USA COOL Committee Chair Mike Schultz.
Schultz said the WTO is attempting to coerce the United States into repealing or modifying the United States’ constitutionally-passed COOL law that informs consumers as to where their food is produced.
In September, R-CALF USA joined with the Made in the USA Foundation in a lawsuit that challenges the authority of the WTO to issue rulings that are inconsistent with U.S. laws.
Joel Joseph, Chairman of the Made in the USA Foundation said, "When the United States joined the World Trade Organization Congress specified that the WTO had no power to override U.S. law. Now the WTO is attempting to do just that. The Foundation, along with R-CALF USA and other groups, are suing the WTO and the United States to keep the Country of Origin Labeling Law in force."
R-CALF USA and the Made in the USA Foundation have collected approximately 25,000 signatures from consumers who are petitioning President Barack Obama, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk to enforce the U.S. COOL law and disregard rulings of the WTO finding that COOL is a technical barrier to trade.
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R-CALF USA (Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund, United Stockgrowers of America) is a national, nonprofit organization dedicated to ensuring the continued profitability and viability of the U.S. cattle industry. For more information, visit www.r-calfusa.com or call 406-252-2516.
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