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Peterson Statement at Meeting to Consider COOL Repeal Legislation

Business Meeting to Consider H.R. 2393, a Legislative Response to the WTO Decision

--As Prepared for Delivery--

“Thank you Mr. Chairman. COOL is something we’ve been working on for a long time. I thought the language in the 2008 Farm Bill was something we could all live with but that wasn’t the case.

“I’m disappointed that the WTO ruled against the United States but I think repealing COOL is premature.

“Of course no one wants to see retaliation but it’s important to point out that there are still several steps that have to occur before that would take place. Given what we have seen in the past – it took 15 months for the Arbitration Panel to issue a ruling in the U.S.-Brazil cotton case – it’s unlikely the Panel will rule on COOL retaliation within their 60 day window.

“I think we should take a serious look at the mandatory labeling requirements that are in place in more than 60 other countries. EU labeling rules, for example, require indication of the country of birth, fattening and slaughter. If a cow is born, raised, and slaughtered in the same country, then that is the country of origin. Imported beef can be labeled as “non-EU” if information is not available. For meats originating from countries where information about the animal may be unknown, the system allows for alternative claims of origin.

“There are obviously distinctions between the EU requirement and what we’ve tried to do but I think it’s worth looking at to see if we can find a workable North American solution.

“Again, Mr. Chairman, I think this bill is premature. I don’t think this is the best way to avoid retaliation and, quite frankly, I don’t think the Senate will be able to pass a repeal. I would suggest that we instead take some time to thoughtfully consider our next steps.”