WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Pat Roberts, Chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, today said his legislation to repeal mandatory Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) for meat is the surest way to avoid $3.2 billion in trade retaliation following a statement from Canada’s Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz condemning the voluntary labeling system proposed by Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow and North Dakota Senator John Hoeven.
Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts last week introduced legislation to fully repeal COOL requirements for meat. Identical legislation recently passed the U.S. House of Representatives and has been publicly endorsed by Canada and Mexico to prevent retaliation.
“If Minister Ritz’s comments don’t spell it out for Congress, I don’t know what will,” said Roberts. “I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: its repeal or retaliation.”
Below is Minister Ritz’s statement.
“Senators Hoeven and Stabenow’s proposal in no way reflects Canada’s voluntary labelling regime – any suggestion of this is blatantly false. A voluntary regime as they propose does not require legislation.”
“Should the United States move forward with their short-sighted proposal, Canada will have no choice but to impose billions of dollars of retaliatory tariffs on United States exports.”
“By continuing the segregation of and discrimination against Canadian cattle and hogs, Senators Hoeven and Stabenow's proposed measure will continue to harm farmers, ranchers, packers, retailers and consumers. It will cost American families thousands of jobs, and guarantee Canadian retaliation.”
“The only way for the United States to avoid retaliation is for the United States Senate to follow the lead of the House of Representatives and Senator Roberts and put forward legislation that repeals COOL once and for all.”