By Alan Mercer
From: https://www.youtube.com/user/RTAmerica | 23 December, 2015
Congress has repealed a law requiring vendors to label the country of origin on meat packages. The World Trade Organization has given Canada and Mexico, America’s top two agricultural partners, permission to impose more than 1 billion in retaliatory tarrifs on companies that fail to remove country of origin labels from pork and beef packages.
This is an example of how the World Trade Organization–and foreign countries (or foreign corporations)- foreign from the point of view of American voters–override American DEMOCRATIC REPRESENTATION.
The legislation had been passed by U.S. politicians, who supposedly represent voters, but this free trade agreement–appears to be NAFTA in this case–has been used to NULLIFY the law they passed.
This is the basic point. If this can be done to American voters, then this can be done to Canadian voters. If we want our food– to be labeled with the country of origin, some foreign corporation or government could STOP that.
Based on my earlier analysis, it appears that the TPP also discourages country of origin labeling, just like NAFTA.
This recent news story is an example of how this will operate.
We need some clarity about who is suing who though. Is it governments or corporations? I’m not sure the above article summary is accurate.
Here is the other side of the story. The following video is from the point of view of the Government of Canada, which targeted the “COOL” legislation in the United States:
The United States and Canada are natural partners in agriculture, but Mandatory Country of Origin Labeling – or COOL – has disrupted U.S. supply chains leading to significant costs and inefficiencies. Watch our video to learn more.
But from the point of view of regular American and Canadian consumers (like me), I think it’s understandable to think that there is nothing wrong about supporting our own country’s products and knowing where the product comes from. I don’t remember giving any promise to buy foreign products. Do you? Possibly the legislation could be much simpler and more flexible and just tell consumers where the meat comes from–even if it’s a mixture of places. However, that’s not how governments see it who think they are being integrated by NAFTA into one unit though. That’s what these trade agreements are all about–getting rid of national identity. A lot of the damage has already been done, sure, but why not get started on reversing it?
Here is the farmer, John Goeller, who pushed for COOL legislation in the United States, and he explains how the beef that he say in his account was coming from Australia and was being mixed with tallow from the U.S. How would consumers know that? They wouldn’t.
Consumers want to know where their food comes from, and American farmers and ranchers are proud of what they produce. National Farmers Union is at the forefront of the fight to make sure that consumers can be informed about the origins of their food.
COOL for muscle cuts of meat has been the law of the land since 2008, but in July 2013, meatpacking interests sued the U.S. Department of Agriculture in an attempt to stop COOL. NFU, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and allies are now engaged in a legal battle to turn back efforts by meatpackers, processors, and foreign competitors to undo COOL.
For more information, visit www.NFU.org/cool
So that’s the origin of the battle that was just lost by American consumers. My point is not to endorse particular legislation or to judge all the motives of those who passed it, or to decide on the quality of anybody’s meat. The point is that I think Canadian and American consumers want to know where their food comes from.
I’ve tried to consider the question about whether it’s possible to voluntarily label, as a business, the country of origin under these trade agreements, without legislation, such as NAFTA and the TPP, and based on my analysis in Part 3, I think this is doubtful or difficult because of the loss of information and because of the trademark issue. Others might want to comment if they have some insight into this.