Thursday, January 23, 2014

U.S. politicians move to starve COOL

The Republicans who control the House of Representatives have voted to starve the Obama administration of money to continue implementing Country-of-Origin Labeling (COOL) regulations for meat.

That could spell the end of regulations that have cost Canadian hog and cattle farmers more than $1.5 billion a year in depressed prices.

While the COOL regulations remain in effect, many U.S. meat packers either won’t buy Canadian livestock or discount the price they are willing to pay to offset costs involved in keeping track of the Canadian content throughout their processing and marketing systems.

Canadian Press says officials in Ottawa welcome the news from the Appropriations Committee of the House of Representatives, but will continue to press their case at the World Trade Organization (WTO).

The WTO ruled last year that the U.S. regulations amount to illegal discrimination against imports from Mexico and Canada, which filed complaints.

The U.S. responded with a new set of regulations which took effect late last year, but Canadians and Mexicans and U.S. meat packers all say the new regulations are worse than the previous ones.

There is also optimism that if and when the U.S. politicians finally adopt a new five-year Farm Bill, it will include a provision dropping COOL.