Beef & pork industries dodge $1 billion tariff with COOL repeal

Just before Christmas, Congress came to the rescue of the beef and pork industries and others. Now, that’s a thought you don’t hear very often.

On December 18, Congress stepped in to fix a bad situation by repealing the Country of Origin Labeling law with an amendment to the Omnibus Appropriations Bill. And U.S. Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack announced: “Effective immediately, USDA is not enforcing the COOL requirements for muscle cut and ground beef and pork . . ..”

Things really didn’t come to a head until December when the World Trade Organization authorized Mexico and Canada to assess more than a billion dollars in retaliatory tariffs. That would have cost the U.S. beef industry millions of dollars in tariff costs and lost exports. With the tariffs slated to begin several weeks after the ruling, there was little time to fix the problem.

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