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trade agreement

WTO Authorizes $1 Billion in Retaliatory Tariffs Against COOL

The World Trade Organization (WTO) has authorized Canada and Mexico to charge the U.S. $1 billion in retaliatory tariffs for country-of-origin labeling (COOL) on meat. Last spring, WTO rejected a U.S. appeal of its decision that COOL unfairly discriminates against meat imports and gives the advantage to domestic meat products. COOL, which went into effect for meat… Continue Reading

Food Safety Groups Oppose Trans-Pacific Trade Partnership

The full text of the Trans-Pacific Trade Partnership (TPP) was released last week, and after initial reviews of the proposed treaty, concerns raised by food safety advocates during the negotiations have not been mollified. Debbie Barker, International Programs Director for the Center for Food Safety, says the predominant issues with TPP are the Rapid Response… Continue Reading

USTR Tells WTO That COOL Damages Are Much Lower Than Estimated

Last week, the United States Trade Representative (USTR) filed a legal brief in the World Trade Organization (WTO) dispute over mandatory country-of-origin labeling (COOL), arguing that the $3 billion sought by Canada and Mexico in retaliatory tariffs are a dramatic overestimation of damages. The U.S. requested that the WTO Arbitrator reject the amounts requested by… Continue Reading

Senators Introduce Bill for Voluntary COOL Label

Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and John Hoeven (R-ND) introduced a bill Thursday that would remove certain meats from the mandatory country-of-origin (COOL) labeling program and institute a voluntary label instead. In May, the World Trade Organization rejected a U.S. appeal of its decision that COOL on meat unfairly discriminates against meat imports and give the… Continue Reading

Senate Agriculture Committee Mulls Options on COOL

The Senate Agriculture Committee held a hearing Thursday to discuss country-of-origin labeling (COOL) for meat, which requires that packages sold in the U.S. indicate the country, or countries, where animals were born, raised and slaughtered. “It doesn’t matter if you’re pro-COOL (and many are) or anti-COOL (and many are), you cannot ignore the fact that retaliation… Continue Reading

House Votes to Repeal Country-of-Origin Labeling for Meat

The House of Representatives has voted to repeal country-of-origin labeling (COOL) for beef, pork, and chicken. Texas Republican Rep. Michael Conaway’s Country of Origin Labeling Amendments Act of 2015 passed late Wednesday night by a 300-131 vote. Conaway introduced the bill on May 18 — the same day the World Trade Organization rejected a U.S. appeal of its… Continue Reading

Presidential Task Force Releases Seafood Fraud Final Action Plan

The Presidential Task Force on Combating Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing and Seafood Fraud has released its final action plan for implementing the 15 recommendations issued in December. The plan, unveiled Sunday at the Seafood Expo North America in Boston, includes measures to create and expand domestic partnerships to detect black market fishing and seafood fraud,… Continue Reading

Coalition Opposes Presidential ‘Fast Track’ to Trade Deal

Critics say TPP could lower food safety standards

A coalition of House Democrats and environmental, labor, faith, food safety and other groups have intensified their opposition to a provision granting the president “fast track” authority to push the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) through Congress without amendments and with limited debate. TPP is the massive free trade agreement currently under negotiation between the U.S., Australia,… Continue Reading

Members of Congress Ask That Seafood Safety Be Part of TPP Negotiation

Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA) and Congressman Walter Jones (R-N.C.) sent a letter to the Obama Administration Thursday asking that public health be a focus during the negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Free Trade Agreement. The lawmakers are concerned that, as result of expanded trade with Vietnam and Malaysia – two… Continue Reading

NZ Food Safety/Security at Risk Over Free Trade, Activists Say

A free trade agreement for Pacific countries might erode New Zealand standards for food safety and security, say activists who oppose genetically engineered crops. They raised their concerns before the Asian Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC)  summit in Hawaii, where President Barack Obama was successful in getting “broad outlines” of an agreement among the nine countries… Continue Reading