The World Trade Organization on Monday authorized $1.01 billion in tariffs as a result of complaints from Canada and Mexico over the U.S. Country-of-Origin labeling policy.
The policy requires meat to be labeled with the country where the animal from which it was derived was born, raised and harvested. It also applies to fish, shellfish, fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables and certain nuts. Canada and Mexico have fought against the policy, suggesting it is a technical barrier to trade.
WTO previously ruled COOL violates U.S. trade obligations, discriminates against Canadian and Mexican animals that are sent to the United States to be fed out and processed.
The House of Representatives in June voted to repeal the COOL meat labeling provisions, but the Senate has yet to act on the matter. Several key farm groups are in favor of repeal, citing potential damage to trading relationships with Canada and Mexico and depressed economic returns due to the tariffs.
"America's pork producers need congressional lawmakers to recognize the imminent harm our economy faces," National Pork Producers Council President Dr. Ron Prestage said Monday. "Retaliation has been authorized, and our exports to the No. 1 and No. 2 markets will suffer and so will U.S. farmers, business people and consumers.
"We need Congress to repeal the labeling provision for beef, pork and poultry now."
Last week, National Cattlemen's Beef Association Vice President of Government Affairs Colin Woodall said it would take about 10 days to implement the tariffs, leaving only a few days for Congress to act.
Beef exports are expected to face a 100% tariff in Canada and Mexico, "severely diminishing about $2 billion of beef exports annually," NCBA President Philip Ellis said Monday.
Canada's list of products they intend to retaliate against also includes grains, fruits and manufactured goods. Under WTO retaliation procedures, NCBA says Canada and Mexico can also carousel the products they retaliate against, choosing to target certain products during parts of the year.