US mCOOL repealed

21 December 2015

The US mandatory Country of Origin Labelling (mCOOL) legislation, which has been opposed by Canada and Mexico since it came into effect in 2008, has been repealed by the US House of Representatives and Senate. Numerous reports from livestock media and industry bodies in the US and Canada have noted that this legislation was passed in an omnibus bill and will mean that retaliatory trade measures will not be implemented by Canada and Mexico.

The mCOOL legislation required that red meat at retail had to indicate in which country an animal was born, raised and slaughtered. It was argued by Canada and Mexico at the World Trade Organisation that this was discriminatory against their livestock producers, as it meant additional costs for US feeders and packers to segregate the livestock and meat from different countries.

Canfax, in Canada, notes that there was more volatility in the Canadian cattle market when mCOOL was introduced, and there was an increase in the cash basis between Nebraska and Alberta cattle for much of the mCOOL period. They say the repeal of mCOOL should mean better prices for Canadian cattle producers in the long run, with more active participation from US buyers in the Canadian cattle market – based on supply conditions in both countries.

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