US campaigners take legal action over COOL

By Carina Perkins

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Law, World trade organization, Us

US campaigners take legal action over COOL
US campaigners have filed a lawsuit in an attempt to force the government to ignore a World Trade Organization (WTO) ruling that the US is violating its international trade obligations by insisting on mandatory country of origin labelling (COOL).

The lawsuit, launched by Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund (R-CALF) and Made in USA Foundation, has been filed with the federal district court in Denver, Colorado and names US Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and US Trade Representative Ron Kirk as defendants.

It alleges that the officials “failed their respective duties to protect and preserve US sovereignty by allowing the WTO to second-guess the US COOL law that was passed under the US Constitution”.

It also calls on the court to declare the WTO ruling against the US COOL law to be contrary to US law and therefore null and void.

R-CALF USA region VI director and COOL Committee chair Mike Schultz said: “As US citizens, we never gave up our right to continue governing ourselves under our US Constitution, and we certainly didn’t grant the WTO authority to undermine our domestic laws.  

“This lawsuit is necessary to force this administration to stand up and defend our US sovereignty by disavowing any authority the WTO claims over our nation’s ability to pass beneficial laws for US citizens.”

The WTO Appellate Body passed a ruling in July that upheld a previous WTO decision that US COOL laws discriminated against Canadian livestock and violated WTO rules. The ruling was welcomed by US processors and the Canadian livestock industry, which called on the Office of the US Trade Representative to abide by the decision.

However, it was met with disappointment by US cattle producers, who claimed that US citizens have the right to know where their food comes from.

Related topics: Meat

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