Senior executives from the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) and U.S. Chamber of Commerce have co-authored an October 14, 2014, letter to members of Congress urging the lawmakers to “authorize and direct the Secretary of Agriculture to rescind elements of [country-of-origin labeling (COOL)] that have been determined to be noncompliant with international trade obligations by a final [World Trade Organization (WTO)] adjudication.”

Citing Americans’ jobs as a primary concern, the executives argue that the regulations requiring muscle cuts of meat to include COOL would harm the United States’ relationship with its neighbors. “We are especially concerned that, should the WTO litigation conclude with a ruling of noncompliance by the United States, Congress would be unable to amend the statute prior to Canada and Mexico, our two largest export markets, instituting WTO-authorized retaliation against U.S. exports,” the letter said. “The history is clear. Buyer supply chain needs result in export markets being lost even before retaliation is authorized. More damaging, once export markets are lost, it takes years to regain the market.”

In August 2014, 110 members of Congress urged Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to rescind the COOL requirements if WTO rules against the United States. Further information about that letter appears in Issue 533 of this Update.