Press Releases

Washington—Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and four colleagues this week urged Senate leadership to consider legislation to repeal country of origin labeling requirements for beef and pork. If the Senate does not act, Canada and Mexico will impose retaliatory tariffs against U.S. products, including wine, chocolate, beef, dairy and processed tomato products.

The senators wrote: “We urge you to ensure the Senate passes legislation to avoid costly and damaging retaliatory tariffs by repealing the specific beef and pork labeling requirements found to be out of compliance with our trade obligations.”

Full text of the letter follows:

December 1, 2015

The Honorable Mitch McConnell
Majority Leader
United States Senate
U.S. Capitol, Room S-230
Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable Harry Reid
Minority Leader
United States Senate
U.S. Capitol, Room S-221
Washington, DC 20510                                                                         

Dear Majority Leader McConnell and Minority Leader Reid,

We write to convey our growing concern regarding the impending application of retaliatory tariffs on our nation’s exports stemming from a trade dispute initiated by Canada and Mexico against our current Country of Origin Labeling requirements for beef and pork products.  We urge you to ensure the Senate passes legislation to avoid costly and damaging retaliatory tariffs by repealing the specific beef and pork labeling requirements found to be out of compliance with our trade obligations. Our nation’s rural communities, farmers, and businesses simply cannot afford to suffer retaliatory tariffs. 

Canada and Mexico are our nation’s second and third largest agricultural export markets.  While the precise amount and target of retaliatory tariffs have yet to be approved by the World Trade Organization, Canada and Mexico have applied for approximately $3 billion in annual retaliatory tariffs that would target a substantial number of our states’ exports.  It is our understanding that the World Trade Organization will authorize Canada and Mexico to apply these damaging tariffs beginning in December of this year.  Retaliatory tariffs could decimate our states’ market access in these countries for years to come. 

Earlier this year the House passed legislation to repeal mandatory Country of Origin Labeling by a vote of 300 to 131. We understand the Senate Agriculture Committee has been considering various legislative options to address this trade dispute.  Given that the arbitration panel will authorize retaliatory tariffs in December of this year, we strongly urge you to ensure the Senate passes legislation to resolve this trade dispute with our closest neighbors before the end of the year.

Sincerely,

Dianne Feinstein
U.S. Senator

Barbara Boxer
U.S. Senator

Mark Warner
U.S. Senator

Tim Kaine
U.S. Senator

Joe Donnelly
U.S. Senator

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