In a letter to Agriculture Secretary Vilsack, several meat, poultry and retail associations requested that implementation of the proposed country-of-origin labeling (COOL) rule be delayed until WTO determines whether the final rule brings the United States into compliance.
The groups making the request include:
- American Meat Institute
- Food Marketing Institute
- National Cattlemen’s Beef Association
- National Chicken Council
- National Grocers Association
- National Pork Producers Council
- North American Meat Association
- Southwest Meat Association
The letter also strongly encourages the Office of the United States Trade Representative to negotiate a "sequencing agreement" with Canada and Mexico that would obviate the need for the complainants to put in a retaliation request within 30 days of the expiration of the compliance period on May 23, 2013. Such an agreement would preserve Canadian and Mexican legal rights until the completion of the compliance process (panel and appeal.) The letter argues that implementing the rule before these steps occur would do significant harm to the industry. The letter is available here.