WTO overrules U.S. country of origin law

The World Trade Organization has overruled a U.S. law requiring that imported meat be labeled as to its country of origin.

The law gives an unfair advantage to domestic livestock breeders and meat processors, the WTO said.

Now the WTO is in the process of deciding what retaliatory tariffs can be imposed by Canada and Mexico if the United States does not repeal the law.

This is a sample of what can be expected if Congress approves the Trans Pacific Partnership or Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership agreements.

The mechanism is different in the TPP and TTIP, but the purpose is the same.  Under the investor-state dispute settlement processes in these agreements, a panel of arbitrators could fine a government whose laws supposedly treated a foreign investor unfairly.  The government would have the choice of paying the fine or repealing the law.

It might be good to have a trade agreement that set minimum standards for inspection of imported meat.  But the existing and proposed trade agreements go the other way.  They restrict the power of democratically-elected governments to protect their citizens.

LINKS

WTO Rejects U.S. Appeal of COOL Ruling by Lydia Zuraw of Food Safety News.

If Fast Track Passes, Anything Attached to a “Trade” Treaty Will Pass by Gaius Publius for Down With Tyranny!  [Hat tip to naked capitalism]

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