NPPC: COOL retaliation would be 'cataclysmic' for industry

By Aarian Marshall

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.



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WASHINGTON, June 13, 2013 - Proposed Canadian and Mexican retaliatory measures against the United States for its recently announced country-of-origin labeling (COOL) rules would be “cataclysmic” for the pork industry, National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) officials said during a teleconference today.

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 “If we were to be retaliated against, if we were to lose either of those (Canadian or Mexican) markets, words like ‘cataclysmic' come to mind,” Nick Giordano, NPPC's counsel for international trade, said during the media call.

Giordano pledged NPPC would “do everything in our power” to ensure the United States is in compliance with WTO rules, but the trade organization stresses a resolution may take some time.

If Canada or Mexico does decide to pursue a case with the international trade body, “under ideal conditions, it takes six months,” Giordano said. But the process could be resolved “perhaps as long as a year from now.”

In the meantime, processors have six months to bring their facilities into compliance with the congressionally mandated COOL laws. NPPC hopes the administration will allow the industry additional time so that a WTO ruling would not force another label change.

Changing labels before the matter is decided by WTO “makes no sense,” Giordano said. "It's like an agency changing their practice if it's under court appeal.”

NPPC says domestic and international lawyers believe Canada and Mexico could win a WTO challenge should COOL rules come before the international court.

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