WTO Confirms Favorable Decision for Mexico in Country of Origin Labeling for Meat Products

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The Appellate Body of the World Trade Organization (WTO) announced today its final ruling in favor of Mexico in the controversy on country of origin labeling (COOL) requirements that the United States imposes on meat products. The stringent laws put cattle born in Mexico and exported to the US for fattening and meat production at a disadvantage.
 

The WTO's favorable decision of November 18, 2011 was upheld by the Appellate Body which ruled that COOL requirements are protectionist and give a less favorable treatment to Mexican-born cattle than to US cattle.

The ruling puts a definitive and successful end to the matter for Mexico. As a result, the United States will have to change its measures to conform to WTO rules to guarantee a level playing field for Mexican and US livestock. This would imply a reduction in the gap in price between Mexican and US cattle of up to US$95 per head.
 

According to WTO rules, the adoption of the report will be formalized in the next 30 days, from which time the United States will have time to comply with the ruling. 
 

Mexico's win will benefit the Mexican livestock industry which exported around 1.4 million calves to the United States in 2011, at a value of more than US$600 million.
 

The Mexican Government reiterates its commitment to fight any practice contrary to international obligations by trade partners which unduly jeopardize its productive sector, and expressed its intention to work together with the United States Government to re-establish the long-standing trade relations between both countries in the livestock sector, affected by the adoption of the COOL program.
 

Mexico is delighted with the decision, the third WTO ruling in its favor this year (including the tuna case against the US and the commodities case against China), all of which condemn protectionist trade practices unduly applied by some of Mexico's trade partners.

 

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