Final Trip Report: Mission to Washington, DC - November 19-22, 2013

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 Purpose of travel:
The purpose of this trip was to meet with members of the United States Congress to advocate for a repeal of mandatory Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) for meat.

The United States (US) COOL law requires meat to be labeled in detail according to the country in which each production stage (birth, raising, and slaughter) occurred. The World Trade Organization has found that COOL unfairly discriminates against imported Canadian cattle and hogs. The COOL law is currently being re-examined during the renewal of US farm Legislation (the Farm Bill). The renewal of the Farm Bill presents the best opportunity to end the discrimination caused by COOL.

Mission Objectives:
  • To contribute to the advocacy efforts of government and industry seeking a repeal of COOL.
  • To meet with key senators and representatives to outline Alberta’s position on COOL and build support for a repeal of COOL.
  • To draw attention to the negative impact of COOL on the meat and livestock industry in the US and Canada and underline the desirability of avoiding retaliatory tariffs on US exports to Canada if the US fails to bring COOL into compliance with its obligations as a member of the World Trade Organization.

  • During November 21 and 22, 2013, Minister Olson met with Senator John Boozman (Arkansas), Representative Collin Peterson (Minnesota), Representative Kristi Noem (South Dakota), Representative Glenn Thompson (Pennsylvania), and Representative Austin Scott (Georgia). Minister Olson also met with the General Counsel of the Senate Agriculture Committee and staff from the Offices of Representative Tim Walz (Minnesota) and Senator John Hoeven (North Dakota).
  • In each meeting, Minister Olson presented information on the damage COOL is causing the North American meat and livestock industry. Minister Olson used this opportunity during the drafting of the new US Farm Bill to advocate for a repeal of COOL and to avoid retaliatory trade sanctions by Canada.
  • The Honourable Gerry Ritz, Canada’s Minister of Agriculture and AgriFood, was able to join the meetings with Congressman Peterson and Senator Cochrane.

Minister Verlyn Olson
Nick Harsulla
Jason Krips
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This information published to the web on January 20, 2014.
Last Reviewed/Revised on September 26, 2016.