A Steak In Ag
R-CALF USA may be defined as a non-profit producer organization, but our work benefits anyone who eats meat and lives in an economy that includes agriculture. We’re more than a producer organization; we’re your organization!
Recently, the United States Trade Representative (USTR) formally triggered an arbitration process with Canada regarding COOL at the World Trade Organization (WTO). The purpose of the arbitration process is to determine the level of damages, if any, that Canada incurred as a result of the United States’ mandatory COOL law. Canada must now prove that it actually incurred monetary damages before the WTO would consider granting it the right to impose retaliatory tariffs against the United States as compensation for any such damages. R-CALF USA applauds this decision by the USTR.
R-CALF USA is disappointed but not surprised with the House’s COOL repeal.
The vote to repeal COOL by the U.S. House was conducted under a special resolution passed by the GOP that limited the entire congressional debate to only one-hour and prohibited lawmakers from making any amendments to the measure.
The House has unequivocally undercut the United States’ ability, through our USTR, to negotiate a satisfactory resolution to the ongoing WTO’s attack on our COOL law.
Instead, it has sent a resounding message to foreign countries the world over that all they have to do to overturn U.S. laws is file a complaint at the WTO as this will cause the U.S. House to unilaterally cede its sovereignty by folding like a house of cards.
R-CALF USA rejects Senate’s proposal to convert mandatory COOL to a voluntary program, and believes the recent Senate hearing was pathetically biased with five of the selected witnesses in favor of immediately repealing of COOL. Only one witness appeared to favor COOL but he continually called for changing “mandatory” COOL to “voluntary” COOL so, he said, everyone can walk away a winner.
The reason voluntary COOL doesn’t work is because meatpackers and retailers don’t want it and without a mandatory program, our cow/calf members who sell feeder calves have no way to cause either packers or retailers to label the beef produced from their calves with a USA label after their calves have been sold into the multi-segmented beef supply chain.
It is clear to us that shifting the debate to a choice of only voluntary COOL and repeal of COOL is nothing more than a smokescreen to ensure that COOL is repealed.
After fighting for over 15 years to first win and then defend our mandatory COOL law, our members are not about to throw in the towel while our USTR is still fighting to defend our sovereign right to maintain mandatory COOL in the current arbitration proceeding at the WTO.
Mark your calendars for this year’s annual convention: Aug. 14-15, 2015 in Denver, Colo.
R-CALF USA is funded solely by donations and membership dues. Please consider becoming a member or giving a donation. For more info or to join, go to http://www.r-calfusa.com, 406-252-2516.