Tomorrow, Thursday, July 1, is the deadline for public comments on the federal register notice "WTO Dispute Settlement Proceeding Regarding United States - Certain Country of Origin Labeling Requirements." While USTR will accept any comments received during the course of the dispute settlement proceedings, comments should be submitted on or before July 1, 2009, to be assured of timely consideration by USTR.
The federal register notice, published on May 22, requests comments from the public regarding the issues concerning certain mandatory country of origin labeling (COOL) requirements, as set forth in the additional requests for consultations received from Canada and Mexico.
On December 1, 2008, Canada requested consultations regarding U.S. mandatory COOL, and consultations were held on December 16, 2008. In its December 1, 2008 consultations request, Canada challenged the COOL provisions in the Agricultural Marketing Act of 1946, as amended by the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act, 2008 (2008 Farm Bill), and implemented in the U.S. Department of Agriculture (``USDA'') Interim Final Rule published on August 1, 2008. In Canada's May 7, 2009 letter requesting further consultations, Canada noted that the Interim Final Rule had been replaced by a USDA Final Rule published on January 15, 2009, and that on February 20, 2009, the Secretary of Agriculture issued a letter regarding implementation of the Final Rule.
On December 17, 2008, Mexico requested consultations regarding U.S. mandatory COOL, and consultations were held on February 27, 2009. In its December 17, 2008 consultations request, Mexico challenged the COOL provisions in the Agricultural Marketing Act of 1946, as amended by the Farm, Security, and Rural Investment Act of 2002 and the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act, 2008, and implemented by the regulations published in 7 CFR parts 60 and 65. In Mexico's May 7, 2009 letter requesting further consultations, it explained that this request concerns related measures and amendments adopted by the United States after Mexico's initial request for consultations, including USDA's Final Rule on COOL published on January 15, 2009 and the Secretary of Agriculture's letter on COOL dated February 20, 2009.
Submit your comment today at regulations.gov.