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R-CALF sees MCOOL opening for beef because of new EV origin requirments


Any resurrection requires at least a little faith.

Nobody has more confidence than R-CALF’s CEO Bill Bullard for the return of mandatory county of origin labeling, or MCOOL, for meat.

MCOOL is popular with many consumers and America’s livestock producers.

Congress repealed MCOOL in 2015 after the World Trade Organization (WTO) ruled it harmed Canada and Mexico as a non-tariff trade barrier that would cost the United States billions of dollars.

Bullard sees the recent adoption of the Inflaton Reduction Act as a “seismic shift.” He says it moves Congres from “submissive adherence” to a WTO-enforced national trade obligation to the same advantages for imported products as for domestic products.”

According to some bipartisan economic models, the Inflation Reduction Act won’t reduce prices.

Bullard likes the act’s language that requires a $7,500 tax credit for importing “Made in China” electric cars that will only be extended to electric vehicles where the final assembly occurs in North America.

He says that it is a country of origin provision.

“This effectively ends a significant subsidy enjoyed by electric car manufacturers under the jurisdiction of the Communist Party of China,” Bullard said. “Congress has purposefully signaled it will no longer blindly adhere to outdated international trade rules running counter to the best interests of the United States.”

The Billings, MT-based leader of the largest producer-only lobbying and trade association representing U.S. cattle producers says Congress has a “new direction” that should pave the way for passage of the American Beef Labeling Act.

That law would require mandatory country of origin labeling or MCOOL for beef. Bipartisan sponsors are Senators John Thune, R-SD, Jon Tester, D-MT, Mike Rounds, D-SD, and Cory Booker, D-NJ.

The Labeling Act reverses the Congressional repeal of MCOOL for beef, fruits, vegetables, fish, chicken, and lamb. Bullard said re-instating MCOOL “embodies the same boldness for achieving the best interests of the United States just as Congress “has now accorded to the domestic supply for electric cars.”

The 2002 and 2008 farm bills called for MCOOL’s enactment. Congress in 2009 required labels that disclosed where animals were born, raised and slaughtered. After Mexico and Canada protested, the WTO ruled against the U.S. for beef. Congress repealed MCOOL in 2015.

“Standing up for cattle producers is, and always will be, a top priority for us, which is why we have introduced legislation that would provide a path forward for the reinstatement of MCOOl for beef,” Thune and Tester said in a guest editorial for Agri-Pulse, com.

The American Beef Labeling Act would give the U.S. trade representative (USTR) six months to work out a reinstatement plan in consultation with the Secretary of Agriculture. If the USTR fails, the law will take effect one year after passage.

The two main sponsors say they want a “Product of the U.S.A. label on beef that ‘you can trust.’”

R-CALF USA’s full name is the Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund United Stockgrowers of America. It is a national non-profit organization “dedicated to ensuring the continued profitability and viability of the U.S. cattle industry.”

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