Country-of-origin labeling (COOL) has new life in Washington, D.C. That’s because 27 freshmen House Democrats sent a June 25 letter to Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, and are urging the resurrection of COOL requirements as part of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). Those 27 House members say a vote on USMCA should not occur until the White House also includes strong enforcement provisions on labor and environment in the trade agreement.
Despite the newfound COOL support, analysts are calling the COOL resurrection a “long-shot.”
COOL was in effect from 2009 to 2015, requiring that beef and pork product labels cite where the animals were born, raised and slaughtered. Canada and Mexico challenged the law with the World Trade Organization, which ruled against the U.S. COOL regulations. Threatened with a combined $1.1 billion in annual retaliatory duties, the U.S. Congress repealed COOL in December 2015.