NAM Urges Repeal of WTO-Inconsistent Labeling Rules

By March 25, 2015Trade

Linda Dempsey, vice president for international economic affairs with the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), testified today at a House Agriculture Subcommittee on Livestock and Foreign Agriculture hearing entitled, “Implications of Potential Retaliatory Measures Taken against the United States in response to Meat Labeling Requirements.”

At the hearing, Dempsey underscored that the United States’ continued failure to bring its Country-of-Origin Labeling (COOL) rules for muscle cuts of meat into compliance with its World Trade Organization (WTO) obligations is threatening U.S. manufactured goods exports to Canada and Mexico. The NAM is co-chair of the COOL Reform Coalition, along with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

 “With the threat of retaliation looming for our nation’s manufacturers, time has run out. The NAM and the COOL Reform Coalition urge Congress to bring the United States back into compliance with its WTO obligations fully and quickly through the repeal of these WTO-inconsistent provisions,” Dempsey testified.

“WTO-authorized retaliation by two of the largest U.S. trading partners could result in very substantial tariffs affecting multiple sectors of the U.S. economy, threatening the livelihoods of American families,” Dempsey added. Repeal of the provisions would likely allow the United States to avoid retaliation by Canada and Mexico and prevent a loss of export sales by U.S. manufacturers.


Canada has put forward a proposed retaliatory list, which includes agricultural products such as beef, pork, cheese and fresh fruit, as well as manufactured goods that include steel pipes, heating appliances, office furniture and mattresses.

Mexico has not set forth what products could be included on its list, but the impact on U.S. companies is expected to be severe, if history serves as our guide. Mexico imposed tariffs as high as 45 percent on 99 U.S. products after a North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) dispute settlement panel sided with Mexico on a dispute over cross-border trucking in March 2009. More than $2.5 billion of U.S. exports to Mexico were affected, resulting in lost sales and lost jobs.

Erik Glavich contributed to this post

Ken Monahan

Ken Monahan

Director for International Trade Policy at National Association of Manufacturers
Ken Monahan is the Director for International Trade Policy at the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), where he works with NAM member companies to develop and advocate the association’s positions and priorities on trade agreement negotiations, ensure enforcement of existing trade agreement commitments, and other issues including the World Trade Organization (WTO), miscellaneous tariff bills, data flows and privacy, conflict minerals, forced localization, and other bilateral country trade matters (e.g., Colombia, South Korea, and the European Union and its member states). Mr. Monahan has on-the-ground experience negotiating trade agreements, having worked at the U.S. Department of Commerce on the WTO Doha Round negotiations, the U.S.-Korea free trade agreement and other international trade matters.
Ken Monahan

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