Costa Statement at COOL Hearing

Mar 25, 2015
Press Release

Washington, D.C.- Below is an excerpt of Congressman Jim Costa’s opening statement at the Livestock and Foreign Agriculture Subcommittee’s hearing on County-of-Origin-Labeling (COOL) that was held earlier today.

“It does not surprise many in this room that I believe mandatory, government-run Country-of-Origin-Labeling (COOL) is a failed experiment. Unfortunately, this issue has persisted for several years with the same flawed arguments being used time and again. 

“COOL opponents argue that this rule increases production costs which are directly passed on to consumers. Supporters of COOL argue just the opposite. It is my sincere desire that today we are able to move beyond the same talking points to have a fair and relevant discussion.

“As we know, the World Trade Organization (WTO) is set to release its decision on the United States’ appeal to the case brought by the Government of Canada in conjunction with the Government of Mexico. Should the WTO reject the United States’ appeal, we could face harsh retaliation efforts against products produced in California and across the country.

“The Canadian Government has already published its list of commodities that will be subject to retaliatory measures and it is estimated that it will have an impact of well over one billion dollars. In a past dispute with Mexico, we saw the devastating effects that trade retaliations can have on not only the agricultural economy, but the national economy. Mexico imposed $2.6 billion in retaliatory tariffs on 99 U.S. agriculture and manufacturing products, costing tens of thousands of jobs and over $4 billion to the U.S. economy. This case could have greater impacts.

“As such, I am pleased this hearing is happening as it gives us the opportunity to establish a record and hear from industry stakeholders. However, I do not believe this is the last time we will find ourselves discussing this issue as we are still waiting on the WTO to decide on the US’s appeal and the arbitration process to take place.

“Many in Congress, myself included, want to see this problem rectified.  I have long been fighting against what I believe to be a misguided government policy, and I will continue to work with my colleagues on resolving this issue.”