Amidst the debate over the TPP, the WTO this week showed us how much power trade deals can confer on international bodies to interfere with national legislation. Specifically, the WTO has ruled that Canada and Mexico can impose $1 billion worth of tariffs because of a U.S. regulation, in place since 2009, requiring country-of-origin labels (COOL) for beef, pork, and other livestock. According to the WTO, the rule discriminates against livestock from Canada and Mexico. As the Wall St. Journal notes,
U.S. consumer groups have long argued that country-of-origin labels can help shoppers avoid food from countries with lax safety regulations. The labeling effort, which gained traction in Congress in the early 2000s after mad-cow disease was found in British cattle, drew support from some U.S. ranching groups.
In response to the WTO's ruling, efforts are underway in Congress to repeal the COOL rule, the Journal reports.
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