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Senator Pat Roberts Urges Trump Administration to Scrap Reconsideration of COOL: Country of Origin Labeling

  • Mandatory country of origin labeling (COOL) rules for beef products have long been the subject of controversy and challenge, culminating in: (1) a World Trade Organization (WTO) ruling that the COOL requirements violate U.S. trade obligations to Canada and Mexico and (2) Congress repealing COOL as of December 21, 2015.  Against this backdrop, the Trump administration is gearing up to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with COOL reportedly being a key element of a model trade agreement.

  • On March 14, 2017, speaking at the confirmation hearing of Robert Lighthizer to be U.S. Trade Representative, Senator Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, warned against any reconsideration of country-of-origin labeling (COOL). Sen. Roberts explained, “We fixed the issue of COOL in 2015. We don’t need to go down that road again. We narrowly escaped about $4 billion … in retaliatory tariffs against the United States. I do not think we need a constantly changing list of key elements of a model trade agreement … what we need is a U.S. Trade Representative confirmed … and in place who will embark on a robust trade policy.”

  • It remains to be seen whether the new administration will seek to advance COOL as part of its apparently imminent renegotiation of NAFTA.

© 2017 Keller and Heckman LLP


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Keller and Heckman offers global food and drug services to its clients. Our comprehensive and extensive food and drug practice is one of the largest in the world. We promote, protect, and defend products made by the spectrum of industries regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the European Commission and Member States authorities in the European Union (EU) and similar authorities throughout the world. The products we help get to market include foods, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, veterinary products, dietary supplements, and cosmetics. In addition...