Coalition of 283 Farm, Rural, Faith, Environmental, Labor, Farmworker, Manufacturer and Consumer Organizations Urge Congress to Reject COOL Repeal

By Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch

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Dear Chairman Conaway and Ranking Member Peterson:

The undersigned 283 farm, rural, faith, environmental, labor, farmworker, manufacturer and consumer organizations respectfully urge you to reject the repeal of the Country-of-Origin Labeling (COOL) law and support commonsense food labeling. Polls show that nine out of ten Americans support COOL. Consumers continue to demand more information about their food and producers want to share that information.

Although the World Trade Organization (WTO) Appellate Body has issued its decision on COOL, the United States has a sovereign right to allow the dispute process to proceed to its completion and then decide how and whether to implement the adverse ruling. Our organizations remain steadfast in their opposition to any efforts to undermine COOL through repeal or any other measures.

It is premature for the Congress to unilaterally surrender to saber-rattling from our trading partners in the midst of a long-standing dispute. COOL opponents have highlighted Mexico and Canada’s threats of retaliation as if their aspiration to seek billions of dollars in penalties were already approved by the WTO. But these unapproved, unrealistically high retaliation claims are merely aggressive litigation tactics designed to frighten the United States — a standard practice in WTO disputes. Congress should not fall for it.