Fearing retaliation from Canada and Mexico against U.S. pork and beef imports, the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) and the National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA) have expressed concerns about the Obama Administration’s appeal over last week’s World Trade Organization finding on a U.S. meat labeling law.
Late last week, the office of the U.S. Trade Representative opted to appeal the World Trade Organization (WTO) ruling on the U.S. Country-of-Origin-Labeling (COOL) law claiming that it provided less favorable treatment to Canadian and Mexican livestock producers.
“NPPC is urging the Obama administration and Congress to resolve the issue to avoid damaging retaliation from Canada and Mexico against U.S. pork products,” according to a NPPC press release. NPPC opposed the country-of-origin-labeling law (COOL) when it was being considered by Congress because of potential trade implications as well as costs, which far outweigh any benefits, according to NPPC.
In 2011, Mexico became the second market to import more than $1 billion in U.S. pork in a single year, according to the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF). For the year, pork exports to Mexico jumped 6 percent in value over 2010, reaching $1.04 billion.
NCBA Vice President Bob McCan issued the following statement. "We are very disappointed in this decision. An appeal is the wrong answer and a waste of valuable resources. This appeal will do nothing but escalate tension with our valuable trade partners and will prolong an issue that could be resolved quickly.”
Canada was the leading destination for U.S. beef in 2011, reaching $1.03 billion – a 41 percent increase over 2010, according to USMEF. Mexico was the volume pacesetter at 256,938 metric tons, with export value totaling $985 million.
According to McCan, NCBA will engage with Canada and Mexico in order to prevent any retaliatory action that could occur from this unfortunate decision made by the U.S. government.
Meanwhile, National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson expressed NFU’s support to appeal the WTO ruling against the U.S. implementation of the COOL law. “NFU has been an ardent proponent for COOL from its inception,” said Johnson. “We will refuse to accept the WTO’s recent decision without a vigorous fight and are pleased the USTR has taken the same stance.”