Congress's end-of-the-year spending bill, approved in December, included a number of unrelated items, including a suspension of the country-of-origin labeling law (COOL), favored by consumer groups but the object of trade retaliation threats from America's major trading partners. For the most part, the food industry was pleased to see COOL go. The American Frozen Food Institute (AFFI) praised lawmakers for repealing COOL, saying it headed off what was likely to be costly retaliation by Canada and Mexico.

“The World Trade Organization (WTO) recently approved annual retaliatory tariff amounts of $1.01 billion, $781 million from Canada and $227.76 million from Mexico, which could have been imposed on U.S. exports if COOL was not repealed,” said AFFI Interim President Joseph Clayton.

In May 2015, the WTO found COOL requirements to be in violation of the United States’ international trade obligations by treating Canadian and Mexican livestock less favorably than domestic livestock.