If you claim to worry about U.S. sovereignty, you cannot exempt the international tribunals at the WTO from your principles.
Despite their rhetoric on protecting U.S. sovereignty, Republican members of the House Ag Committee have been scrambling to comply with a WTO ruling on food labeling. I still can’t figure it out. The Republican Party complains the most about sovereignty, and not being bound by international tribunals. But when it comes to the WTO, their sovereignty rhetoric is reversed, and they worry about complying.
During this debate over the 2012 Farm Bill, the GOP is trying to gut COOL and prevent U.S. farmers and ranchers from letting consumers know when they get U.S. food and when they do not.
A WTO tribunal, made up of trade lawyers from other countries, found the U.S. country of origin labeling law (COOL) violated international norms. Country of origin labeling is a U.S. law, passed in the both the 2002 and 2008 Farm Bills, to label meat, seafood and produce as to country of origin.
Other countries don’t like it because they want to penetrate the U.S. market without telling people where the food is coming from. Multinational food companies don’t like it because they want to import cheap “anywhere meat” without labeling it.
Rep. Randy Neugebauer (R-TX) led the charge to gut COOL (joined by all Republicans and some Democrats on the committee, roll call vote below) to comply with our WTO overlords decision handed down from on high.
The [House Ag] committee adopted a 90-day deadline for USDA to report details of the steps it will take to ensure the United States is in compliance with the decision of the World Trade Organization (WTO) regarding Country of Origin Labeling (COOL). Rep. Randy Neugebauer, R-Texas, offered the bill that members accepted with 34 votes in favor and 12 votes against.
Its not full gutting of COOL, but it is part of the prior and continuing strategy to get rid of it. The Senate Ag Committee, led by Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), has finished its Farm Bill work, and is not worried about the WTO and COOL. They didn’t touch the issue.
Neugebauer had preached about government spending and its indirect threat to U.S. sovereignty. But reverses himself when it comes to the direct sovereignty problem of the international tribunals of the WTO.
Here is the unofficial roll call vote provided by a colleague who was at the hearing.
|#74 WTO COOL compliance report|
|Scott, Austin R-GA||Y|
|Ellmers R NC||Y|
|Scott, David D-GA||Y|