Opening Statements

Opening Statement: Chairman K. Michael Conaway Livestock & Foreign Agriculture Subcommittee: examine the implications of potential retaliatory measures taken against the United States in response to meat labeling requirements

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Washington, DC, March 25, 2015 | comments

Remarks as prepared for delivery: 

Thank you, Chairman Rouzer and Ranking Member Costa, for holding this important hearing. 

Thank you, also to all of our witnesses for taking your time to be here today and helping us understand the consequences we face if we fail to act and the WTO appellate body ultimately finds against the United States as the previous panels have.

The debate surrounding mandatory country-of-origin labeling for meat precedes my being a Member.  In fact, as a Freshman Member of this House, one of my very first floor speeches related to agriculture was on this very topic. 

Considering the discussions that took place prior to the initial passage of COOL in 2002, mainstream cattlemen and pork producers have raised concerns that this policy would likely not withstand legal challenges in the WTO.  Yet we proceeded to implement a program with enormous costs and no quantifiable benefits.  Our North American livestock market has been unnecessarily fractured by this policy, but I believe that the damage can be repaired. 

As we examine the impacts of retaliation if we lose this appeal, I hope that all Members will recognize the failure of this experiment and work together to avoid the economic damages that could be felt by American businesses both inside and outside of agriculture.

Once again, I thank Chairman Rouzer for holding this hearing and yield back.

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