Mexican officials plan to move forward with the country's World Trade Organization complaint objecting to the U.S. mandatory country-of-origin labeling program for meat.
Both Mexico and Canada filed challenges in December with WTO related to COOL, contending that it violated world trade rules, but that action involved the interim rule. USDA has since released the final rules, which essentially rendered the WTO complaints moot.
COOL's final rules were set to go into effect on March 16. However, the Obama administration has since put a halt to all such rules published in the closing month of the Bush administration, leaving COOL and other acts in limbo.
Mexico and Canada would have to re-file a complaint with WTO if they wish to pursue action against COOL. The Canadians have indicated that they are more comfortable with the final COOL rules, and are reviewing the program. Officials there have not indicated whether or not they plan to file a new complaint with the WTO.
The White House on Wednesday announced President Obama will travel to Canada on Feb. 19 to meet with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper. The North American Free-Trade Agreement is expected to be on the agenda. It's unclear whether or not COOL will be discussed.
Mexican officials don't appear to be as satisfied with COOL's rule direction. Mexico's Agriculture Minister, Alberto Cardenas, has said that the country will move forward in pursuing options against COOL.