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WILSON COUNTY NEWS: Trade group sides against U.S. cattlemen

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Washington, May 27, 2015 | comments

Following the World Trade Organization’s fourth ruling May 18 that U.S. mandatory country of origin labeling (COOL) regulations violate global trade rules, U.S. Sen. John Cornyn announced his support for House Agriculture Committee Chairman K. Michael Conaway’s legislation, HR 2393, to repeal the burdensome law. 

This latest ruling would allow Canada and Mexico, America’s two largest export markets, to seek authority from the World Trade Organization (WTO) to use retaliatory tariffs on U.S. agricultural and manufactured goods.

“The United States has now defended COOL regulations before WTO four separate times, and four times WTO has ruled that they violate global trade rules. ... I put my full support behind Chairman Conaway’s legislation to remove ongoing uncertainty for Texas producers and restore a healthy trade relationship with our North American neighbors,” Cornyn said in a May 19 press release.

The U.S. House Agriculture Committee approved HR 2393: To amend the Agriculture Marketing Act of 1946, sponsored by Conaway, by a vote of 38 to 6, with Rep. Henry Cuellar voting in favor.

The bill, if approved, would extend “the repeal of COOL as it relates to beef, pork, and poultry,” U.S. Cattlemen’s Association Danni Beer said in a May 19 member alert. “This bill extends the repeal of COOL beyond the parameters reviewed by the WTO case. The scope of this repeal is far outside of its bounds ... and [the group] maintains the position that this process does not require Congressional action,” Beer said.

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