Congress rebalances adherence to outdated WTO; good news for MCOOL
BILLINGS, Mont. – Last week’s enactment of the Cut Inflation Act signals a seismic shift in Congress’ submissive adherence to the World Trade Organization’s national treatment obligation – an international trade rule between countries members of the WTO requiring the granting of identical advantages to imported products as national products granted. Therefore, Congress extended a tax credit of $7,500 for each Chinese-made electric car imported into the United States.
But not more. The Inflation Reduction Act provides the $7,500 tax credit only for electric cars that meet certain origin conditions, including final assembly in North America. This effectively ends a large subsidy enjoyed by electric car makers under the jurisdiction of the Chinese Communist Party.
“Congress has deliberately signaled that it will no longer blindly adhere to outdated international trade rules when such rules are against the best interests of the United States,” said R-CALF USA CEO Bill Bullard. , adding, “And the new leadership of Congress is expected to pave the way for the enactment of the U.S. Beef Labeling Act that requires mandatory country of origin labeling (MCOOL) for beef.
Citing the same WTO-mandated national treatment obligation that Congress deliberately ignored for the electric car industry, the WTO has previously ruled that the United States violated its trade obligation while MCOOL for beef was first implemented in 2009. In response to this decision, Congress repealed MCOOL for beef in 2015.
Introduced by Senators John Thune, RS.D., Jon Tester, D-Mont., Mike Rounds, RS.D., and Cory Booker, DN.J., the American Beef Labeling Act reverses repeal by Congress of MCOOL for beef by requiring that beef be reinstated among the various other foods currently subject to the US MCOOL Act, including fruits and vegetables, fish, chicken, and lamb.
Bullard said the U.S. Beef Labeling Act embodies the same boldness to achieve the best interests of U.S. cattle and ranchers and consumers that Congress has now granted to the national supply chain for electric cars. .
In a joint opinion/editorial, Thune and Tester explain that their U.S. beef labeling law provides a six-month period to develop a WTO-compliant way to reinstate the MCOOL for beef, but if such a plan doesn’t is not found, then the MCOOL for beef would automatically be reinstated within one year of its enactment.
“We have found that MCOOL’s adverse WTO ruling nearly a decade ago remains the greatest impediment to broad congressional support for MCOOL for beef, even as this common-sense measure enjoys a broad public support.
“We fully hope that his bold action taken in the Cut Inflation Act, which reflects an acknowledgment that WTO trade rules are now outdated and inadequate, will enable Congress to begin to serve the interests of America by enacting MCOOL for beef, which will most certainly help strengthen America’s national protein supply chain,” concluded Bullard.