Roberts Secures COOL Repeal in Funding Bill, U.S. Exports to Escape Retaliation

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Pat Roberts, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry,  is pleased to announce the inclusion of mandatory Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) repeal in the year-end funding bill, currently awaiting a vote in the U.S. House of Representatives.

COOL, first authorized in the 2002 Farm Bill and amended in the 2008 Farm Bill, was found by the World Trade Organization (WTO) to violate trade agreements made between the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. The WTO announced last week that Canada and Mexico can soon – as early as this Friday, Dec. 18 – legally retaliate against American-made exported goods in the form of over $1 billion in tariffs.

“For several years now, the writing has been on the wall that U.S. COOL requirements for meat were doomed at the WTO. Since its inception, I have warned that retaliation was coming, and I’m pleased American agriculture and businesses will escape these tariffs,” said Chairman Roberts.

“I have actively opposed COOL from the beginning, in large part due to these very trade ramifications, offering legislation to repeal the damaging law. House Agriculture Committee Chairman Conaway swiftly led the House to approve repeal, and now I hope the Senate can pass this legislation in time to avoid devastating tariffs. With passage, American farmers, ranchers and small businesses will finally get the certainty they deserve from unnecessary trade retaliation.”

During the 2014 Farm Bill negotiations, Senator Roberts pushed for COOL repeal. In June 2015, the Senate Agriculture Committee held a hearing on COOL and trade retaliation. Chairman Roberts has also spoken on the Senate floor regarding COOL retaliation and introduced legislation to repeal COOL and prevent retaliation.