Friday, June 12, 2015

Hartzler: Why I co-sponsored Country of Origin Labeling Amendments Act

(From Fourth District Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler)

“American-made” is something we are proud of as Missourians. We produce the best agricultural goods, automobiles, furniture, and machinery in the world. Each year Missourians sell over $7 billion worth of goods to Canada and Mexico alone, and trade supports over 820,000 jobs in the state. These countries are our largest markets, yet these opportunities may soon be lost.

The United States’ Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) law forces retail food stores to label the country of origin for fruits, vegetables, grains, meats and other agricultural products. The World Trade Organization said this unfairly harms the competitiveness of Canadian and Mexican products in the United States, allowing both countries to raise costs on American-made goods. Canada recently sought permission from the WTO to levy tariffs up to 100 percent on agricultural products and related commodities including jewelry, chocolate, and furniture. This would severely impact jobs and industries across America.

Canada and Mexico account for nearly half of Missouri’s exports. Revenue and employment would certainly decrease if our two closest trading partners placed our goods at a disadvantage in the marketplace by increasing their prices. As it stands, COOL would have a negative economic impact in Missouri of an estimated $623 million.

Averting tariffs is as simple as abolishing COOL requirements for agricultural products. To that end, I proudly co-sponsored the Country of Origin Labeling Amendments Act, which passed the House this past week. H.R. 2393 would repeal COOL requirements for beef, pork, and chicken, eliminating unnecessary regulations and averting costly retaliation from our neighbors.

The COOL program amounts to nothing more than a government mandated marketing program that does not provide any real value to producers or consumers. The answer is to end this harmful law now, before these retaliatory trade measures further damage our fragile economy. We need to encourage other countries to buy “American-made” products rather than building a barrier to stop them.


Anonymous said...

"does not provide any real value to producers or consumers." What crap...I want to know where my food comes from. Why does she think I should not have that right?

Anonymous said...

Cool has restored Missouri beef producers share of the consumer beef dollar to a twenty year high in just five years in action. She must want more money for the multinational proceesser to buy from other nations with poor safety records and sell it to us without us knowing. The complaints from Mexico and Canada are false and have not been proven. We imported a record amount of beef last year from both countries. Canada itself has a country of Origen labeling. As does sixty other nations. Our government does not deal with trade well as evidence being at the bottom of trade deficit more than any sovereign nation. China,Germany and Japan have the highest trade surplus. Rep. Hartzler should ask herself how she sees China now middle class is doing compared to America's dwindling middle class. Same with Germany's and Japan's. All these countries have strong manufacturing base. We don't make many autos here except Toyota here. When do we let a foreign trade group dictate our laws and get our elected to their bidding instead of informing the U.S. Citizens about the Origen of the food they eat. We have government run check off tax on beef producers that takes money involuntary out of our pockets to promote and educate consumers. What a better way to educate people about something they want know. And what better promotion for a food product than product of the U.S.A.