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Farm News, Friday March 10, 2017

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Put COOL Into NAFTA Negotiations

An open markets advocate told the National Farmers Union’s political action committee that Donald Trump should make it a goal to re-establish country-of-origin labeling for beef and pork during the upcoming NAFTA negotiations.

“Trump is going to renegotiate NAFTA. This is an opportunity to put COOL back into law,” says Barry Lynn, a Senior Fellow at New America, a Washington think tank. He also wants the president to “do a deal with Canada and Mexico to make sure they don’t challenge our rights before the World Trade Organization again.” He was referring to the case brought before the WTO by Canada and Mexico challenging the U.S. labeling law. The panel ruled against COOL, saying it discriminated against Canada and Mexico.

Lynn says Congress and the Obama Administration “caved” by giving into the ruling. The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative defended the move for several years, but Lynn says if the U.S. had to pay damages to keep the program, they should have done so. The National Farmers Union was a strong supporter of COOL while it was in effect, but they’ve not taken a position on how to get the program going again.

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U.S. Red Meat Exports Strong in January

U.S. beef and pork exports maintained their momentum that began in the fourth quarter of 2016 with higher year-over-year numbers in January. Those numbers come from USDA statistics and were compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation.

Beef exports totaled almost 96,500 metric tons, 17 percent more than a year ago. Beef exports were valued at over $515 million, 18 percent higher and the largest number ever in January. Pork exports in January were up 21 percent in volume compared to last year and took a 26 percent jump higher in value at just over $508 million.

“The red meat industry entered 2017 with an optimistic outlook,” says Phillip Seng, USMEF Chair and CEO, “and we’re confident we can sustain that strong momentum in the international markets.” He adds there are still challenges ahead thanks to record large production numbers trending higher. “It’s more important than ever that we move more product out of the country by growing U.S. market share,” Seng adds. Beef exports are growing in Asian markets, especially Japan and South Korea. Mexico remains the top export destination for U.S. pork.

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Source;  NAFB News

 

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