Group Calls NCBA's Attack on COOL Downright Deceptive
Billings, Mont. -- Sixteen R-CALF USA officers, directors and committee chairs today sent a strong five-page letter to the National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA) calling NCBA's public response to Canada's Oct. 7, 2009, announcement that it would pursue a complaint at the World Trade Organization (WTO) against the United States' mandatory country-of-origin labeling (COOL) law "intolerable, irresponsible and deceptive, as well as a tremendous disservice to the hard-working men and women who comprise the U.S. live cattle industry."
NCBA issued a public statement on the same date that Canada announced its WTO complaint, claiming that COOL likely has damaged what it calls "critically important trading relationships" between the U.S., Canada and Mexico. NCBA claims the U.S. supposedly benefits from Canadian and Mexican cattle imports because the U.S. exports value-added beef products to Canadian and Mexican consumers. "Canada and Mexico are our top two trading partners, together accounting for 59% of total U.S. beef, beef variety meat and processed beef product export revenues last year," NCBA's statement asserts.
R-CALF USA's letter to NCBA CEO Forrest Roberts states in part:
"Your Oct. 7, 2009, 'NCBA Statement on Canadian WTO Complaint Against U.S. COOL Law' (NCBA announcement) in which you extol the combined, revenue-based benefits of U.S. cattle and beef trade with Canada and Mexico, fails to disclose the critical fact that trade (i.e., both imports and exports) with these two countries continues to generate a substantial revenue-based deficit for the U.S. -- a deficit that has averaged more than $1.3 billion in each of the past five years and that has resulted in a cumulative five-year loss of more than $6.6 billion."
R-CALF USA CEO Bill Bullard said NCBA's announcement deceives cattle producers, the public and Congress because it omits the most important material fact necessary to evaluate the costs and benefits of trade: the net balance between imports and exports.