Tuesday, March 9, 2010


"Country of Origin" clause on food package labels, as being demanded by a section of the public in the US, is considered illogical under a free trade regime that is supposed to work, equitable to all countries. The idea behind such a demand is that foods coming from far off places like New Zealand, Australia, China, India etc reach the US after long see voyages spewing out large amounts of CO2, considered responsible for the green house effect and global warming. Here is a view from the industry regarding such restrictive practices that can ruin the livelihood of people in many developing countries.

"The American Meat Institute (AMI) Friday told the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative that mandatory country-of-origin labeling (COOL) violates the United States' international trade obligations for many reasons and that the U.S. must honor these obligations. The comments were provided in response to a December 4, 2009, Federal Register Notice. Canada and Mexico in late 2009 filed a case against the United States with the World Trade Organization (WTO), a move that came as no surprise given those countries' outspoken opposition to the labeling law when it was under consideration by Congress".

Of all the countries Canada and Mexico are neighbors to the US and the CO2 story cannot gel with them. It is not realized that if such a reprehensible provision is made, food products from East Coast of the US may find it difficult to sell in the West Coast, the distance for the food to travel being more than 6000 km. Probably the labeling issue may be just a ruse to give protection to local foods and elbow out foreign products which invariably sell at lower prices. This must be taken seriously by WTO as a TBT measure by those countries implementing such labeling regime, violating the free trade spirit.


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