WASHINGTON, Dec. 7, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The World Trade Organization (WTO) announced today that the United States (U.S.) faces immediate economic damages totaling $1.01 billion in retaliatory tariffs if it does not repeal its country of origin labeling (COOL) law for certain meat products. Canada and Mexico have prevailed throughout the WTO adjudication process and are now within a matter of days of placing these devastating retaliatory tariffs on numerous U.S. products including wine.
"We know U.S. wine is on their target lists. Retaliation by Canada and Mexico would set our wine exports back decades and cost billions of dollars in lost sales over time," said Robert P. (Bobby) Koch, President and CEO of Wine Institute. "There is only one solution at this point and that is for Congress to include COOL repeal language in the Omnibus funding bill. Without Congressional action now to bring the U.S. into WTO compliance, retaliatory tariffs could be in place before Christmas."
Koch added, "We want to thank Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) for her outstanding leadership in working to resolve this issue and avoid these extremely destructive tariffs on California's agricultural exports." Senator Feinstein has been a vocal proponent and leader in the effort to pass a legislative solution that ensures retaliation does not occur. California agricultural exports total $4.7 billion annually to Canada and Mexico.
U.S. wine producers export more than $500 million of wine ($1 billion retail value) to Canada and Mexico annually. Canada is the single largest export market for U.S. wine. Wine Institute recently announced that U.S. wines surpassed wines from France and Italy for the first time to claim the largest share of the Canadian market. Any disruption caused by retaliatory tariffs will result in a significant loss of market share that would take years to recover.
Wine Institute represents 1,000 wineries and affiliated businesses throughout California, responsible for 90% of all U.S. wine exports. Wine Institute is also an active member of the COOL Reform Coalition, a diverse group of associations and companies that represent U.S. food, agriculture and manufacturing industries that advocates U.S. compliance with WTO obligations.
SOURCE Wine Institute