W.T.O. finds U.S. COOL regulation to be illegal

by Keith Nunes
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GENEVA, SWITZERLAND — A panel report being circulated to members by the World Trade Organization finds that the U.S. country-of-origin labeling regulations regarding beef and pork that were included in the 2008 farm bill to be in violation of W.T.O. rules. In a complaint filed by the Canadian and Mexican governments with the W.T.O., both alleged that the mandatory COOL provisions were inconsistent with the U.S.’s obligations under the W.T.O. agreement.

The W.T.O. agreed with the positions of Canada and Mexico and found that the COOL regulations violated W.T.O. rules by according less favorable treatment to imported cattle and hogs than to like domestic product. The panel also ruled that the regulation did not “fulfill its legitimate objective of providing consumers with information in origin.”

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