Issues of concern to people who live in the west: property rights, water rights, endangered species, livestock grazing, energy production, wilderness and western agriculture. Plus a few items on western history, western literature and the sport of rodeo... Frank DuBois served as the NM Secretary of Agriculture from 1988 to 2003. DuBois is a former legislative assistant to a U.S. Senator, a Deputy Assistant Secretary of Interior, and is the founder of the DuBois Rodeo Scholarship.
Thursday, September 06, 2012
Western Cattlemen Sue WTO & USDA
Western ranchers sued the World Trade Organization in Federal Court, challenging its power to rule, as it did, that the U.S. Country of Origin Labeling Act discriminates against foreign meat. Made in the USA Foundation, the Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund, United Stockgrowers Association, and Melonhead (a meat and vegetable distributor), sued the WTO, the United States and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The U.S. Country of Origin Labeling Act, aka COOL, requires all fresh produce, meat, chicken and fish to be labeled to reveal its country of origin. The COOL Act, signed in 2002, led Canada and Mexico to file complaints with the WTO. Three WTO representatives, from Portugal, Pakistan and Switzerland, found that COOL violated the Uruguay Round of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, and "imposes discriminatory burdens on meat imported from Canada and Mexico," according to the complaint. The WTO's Appellate Body affirmed the decision, finding that COOL, "particularly in regard to the muscle cut meat labels, is inconsistent with Article 2.1 of the TBT Agreement [Technical Barriers to Trade Agreement] because it accords less favorable treatment to imported livestock than to like domestic stock." The cattlemen-plaintiffs object. "The Country of Origin Labeling Act is not a barrier to trade of any kind," the complaint states. "It was passed to give consumers information about where agricultural products came from. Consumers could choose not to buy raspberries from Guatemala because of a bacterial problem there, or could refuse to buy Canadian beef because of a Mad Cow disease problem there." The cattlemen also claim that the Uruguay Round Agreement, signed into law by President Clinton in 1994, states that U.S. law prevails in any trade conflict between the U.S. and other countries...more