News of Note
United States Appeals WTO Dispute Settlement Panel Ruling Against U.S. Country Of Origin Labeling Requirements
On March 23, 2012, the United States notified the WTO’s dispute settlement body that it intends to appeal the WTO ruling against U.S. statutory provisions and regulations establishing mandatory country of origin labeling (“COOL”) for beef and pork. As reported in the January 2012 edition of the Trade & Manufacturing Alert, a WTO dispute settlement panel issued its report in the case United States--Certain Country of Origin Labelling (COOL) Requirements in November 2011. According to a USTR spokesperson, while the WTO panel confirmed that the United States has the right to adopt mandatory COOL requirements, trade officials were “disappointed” that the panel disagreed with the way that the United States designed its COOL requirements.
Inside US Trade reported that USTR began leaning towards an appeal of the WTO ruling after holding a private meeting in January with stakeholders from consumer, rancher, and meat industry groups. The group failed to reach a consensus on possible legislative changes to the COOL regulations that would bring them into compliance with the dispute settlement panel’s ruling. Appealing allows the Obama administration to avoid politically difficult legislative changes during an election year.