HogsThe National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) is urging Congress to repeal mandatory country of origin labeling (COOL).

That’s following the World Trade Organization (WTO) decision this week to impose over a billion dollars in retaliatory damages for the labeling provision for beef, pork, and poultry.

NPPC President-elect John Weber is a producer from Dysart, in Tama County. “It’s just like receiving a billion dollar bill in the mail. It’s going to happen if they don’t repeal the law. The Senate needs to take action as soon as possible,” Weber said.

The WTO says Canada and Mexico can impose more than $1 billion worth of retaliatory tariffs on U.S. products in response to COOL. The U.S. House voted in June to repeal COOL but the Senate has yet to take up the measure. Weber says once the damages are implemented it’ll be very difficult and time-consuming to remove them.

“Once the tariffs are on, we estimate we’re looking at a minimum of 18 months to two years before a solution — a new program…would be approved by WTO,” Weber said. “So, during that time, whatever segments of the economy they choose to retaliate against will be bearing that burden.” That’s why Weber is hoping the Senate will take action before the holiday break.

Iowa leads the nation in pork production and ranks in the top 10 for beef production.

(Reporting by Jerry Oster, WNAX, Yankton)