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Chairman Roberts: ‘Retaliation is Becoming a Realization’

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Pat Roberts, R-Kan., Chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, today highlighted a World Trade Organization (WTO) decision authorizing Canada and Mexico to place tariffs on over $1 billion of American-made goods.  

This retaliation amount is the result of the Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) law, first authorized in the 2002 Farm Bill and amended in the 2008 Farm Bill, which requires meat labels detailing where livestock were born, raised and slaughtered. The WTO has upheld multiple times Canada and Mexico’s claim that the label creates an unfair advantage to U.S. products. The U.S. is out of chances. 

“As I’ve said time and time again, whether you support or oppose COOL, the fact is retaliation is coming,” said Chairman Roberts. “Today, the WTO announced just how much that retaliation will cost the U.S. economy. With the WTO announcement, farmers, ranchers and small businesses will soon be smacked with over $1 billion in tariffs.”  

“How much longer are we going to keep pretending retaliation isn’t happening? Does it happen when a cattle rancher, or even a furniture maker, is forced out of business? We must prevent retaliation, and we must do it now before these sanctions take effect. I will continue to look for all legislative opportunities to repeal COOL.”  

“The WTO has warned us multiple times, and Congress has ignored the warning. This is no longer a warning. Retaliation is real. Now more than ever, we need to repeal COOL.” 

The U.S. Senate has debated mandatory COOL for nearly three decades, and Chairman Roberts has opposed mandatory COOL from its inception. During the 2014 Farm Bill negotiations, Senator Roberts pushed for repeal. In June 2015, the Senate Agriculture Committee held a hearing on COOL and trade retaliation. Chairman Roberts has also spoke on the Senate floor regarding COOL retaliation and introduced legislation to repeal COOL and prevent retaliation.