In 2009, Congress passed legislation requiring country-of-origin labeling (COOL) on meat and meat products with the intention of better informing consumers of supply chain origins. In 2011, Canada and Mexico challenged these requirements before the World Trade Organization (WTO). The WTO twice found that COOL violated U.S. international trade regulations because the labeling requirements treated imported Canadian and Mexican livestock less favorably than American livestock. In May of 2013, the U.S. implemented new regulations to comply with WTO obligations but Canada and Mexico contend that the new requirements are now more onerous.
On May 18, 2015 WTO determined that the U.S. COOL system is not compliant with WTO obligations. As a result, Canada is expected to begin retaliating against the U.S. by implementing a100 percent surtax on select imports made in the U.S.
The confectionery industry in the U.S. stands to lose more than $535 million in chocolate confectionery, chocolate ingredients and sugar-free sweetener exports to Canada. Many American-made chocolate products will disappear from Canadian shelves and manufacturers in Canada that source critical raw materials from American suppliers will shift supply chains outside of the U.S. The products specifically impacted are chocolate and chocolate confectionery that are not in blocks, slabs or bars (1806.90), sweet biscuits (1905.31), waffles/wafers of (1905.32), bulk chocolate preparations greater than two kilograms (1806.20) and certain sugar substitutes including sorbitol and xylitol (2940.00).
We want to avoid any retaliatory action by Canada and Mexico so that our products and materials exported to these important North American Free Trade Agreement partners do not become cost prohibitive and, de facto, kept out of the Canadian market.
Where Things Stand Today
We applaud the U.S. House of Representatives on its vote to repeal Country of Origin Labeling. However, action in the Senate has not been forthcoming.
Action For Candy Advocates
1. Find out how your Representative voted on Country of Origin Labeling Amendments Act of 2015. Send a quick note of thanks if he/she voted YEA (to repeal COOL).
2. Contact Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Roberts and Ranking Member Stabenow, and Senate Appropriators to urge them to support full repeal of COOL for meat. This is the only solution that will prevent businesses from losing valuable market share and opportunity in our major export markets.