Contributing Lawyers


Cyndee Todgham Cherniak

United States

Susan Kohn Ross


Andrew Hudson

The American Meat Institute Says Not COOL & Supports Canada & Mexico in the COOL Trade Dispute

Food Safety News reports that the American Meat Institute (AMI) is supporting Canada and Mexico in the dispute concerning the United States 2008 Farm Bill country of origin labelling (COOL) rules. The report indicates that the AMI has sent a seven-page letter to the United States Trade Representative (Ron Kirk) and has taken the position that the COOL rules are inconsistent with the U.S. international trade obligations. This letter was written on January 8, 2010 as is posted on the AMI web-site -

The summary of the letter posted on the AMI web-site states:

“American challenges to these actions have been based upon the rights provided under international trade agreements. These challenges will continue, as demonstrated by a recent limitation to an important market for beef. Critical to the United States' ability to enforce successfully World Trade Organization (WTO) and North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) obligations is consistency in U.S. behavior and actions,” Dopp said. “In that regard, the United States' credibility is undermined when U.S. legislation violates America's commitments pursuant to those international agreements. In the instant case, the U.S. COOL requirements, as provided for in the 2002 Farm Bill (and modified in the 2008 Farm Bill) and as implemented through regulations that became effective March 16, 2009, are not consistent with U.S. obligations under both WTO and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (“GATT") and NAFTA.”

More details of the NAFTA and WTO inconsistencies are in the letter.

For a copy of the full Food Safety News article, please go to the following link -

Canada filed a Request for Consultations with the United States under the WTO Dispute Settlement Understanding (DSU) on December 1, 2008. On 12 December 2008, Mexico and Nicaragua requested to join the consultations. Subsequently, the United States informed the Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) that it had accepted the request of Mexico to join the consultations. On May 7, 2009, Canada requested further consultations concerning related amendments and measures adopted by the United States after Canada's initial request for consultations. On May 15, 2009, Mexico requested to join the further consultations. On May 22, 2009, Peru requested to join the further consultations. Subsequently, the United States informed the DSB that it had accepted the requests of Mexico and Peru to join the consultations.

At its meeting on November 19, 2009, the DSB established a single panel pursuant to Article 9.1 of the DSU, to examine this dispute and dispute DS386. Argentina, Australia, China, Colombia, India, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Peru, New Zealand, Brazil, the European Communities, Guatemala and Chinese Taipei have reserved their third-party rights.

I wonder if the AMI is going to participate at the WTO and request the opportunity to file an amicus brief.

We continue to monitor this trade dispute.

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