ASA Lauds House Passage of COOL Repeal

Jun 10, 2015

With a vote late Wednesday night, the House of Representatives passed a bill to repeal the country of origin labeling standards for meat products sold in the United States. The legislation followed last month’s final ruling from the World Trade Organization that the COOL statute represents a violation of U.S. commitments under the WTO. The American Soybean Association (ASA) has supported repeal of the COOL rule based on potential retaliatory tariffs on U.S. soy exports, and on adverse impacts to the livestock industry, which represents the largest consumer of domestically produced soybean meal. In a statement, ASA Chairman and Iowa soybean farmer Ray Gaesser commended the House, and in particular House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway, for passage of the bill and called on the Senate to take up and pass legislation to avert any potential trade disruptions or retaliation:

“The WTO has now issued its final and last ruling that COOL unfairly discriminates against livestock from Canada and Mexico, and is incompatible with the way our customers in the livestock industry do business. Canada and Mexico will be able to retaliate by raising tariffs on U.S. meat and other exports to their countries unless we repeal COOL, so repealing COOL is the only sensible thing to do. Failure to do so will impact U.S. meat and other exports to those countries. And let’s be clear, these two countries are critically valuable trading partners: Mexico is the United States’ top export customer for U.S. meat products, and Canada is our third largest customer. In 2014 the United States exported nearly $7 billion worth of U.S. pork, poultry, and beef to these markets – all fed on diets of U.S. soybean meal. Furthermore, as a leader in the global agricultural trade sector, it is incumbent on us to uphold our commitments under the WTO. We demand the same from our trade partners, and after multiple rulings against the U.S. on COOL, it’s clear the rule needs to go. We hope the Senate will follow suit and pass legislation to repeal the COOL rule quickly, so we can maintain these key relationships.”