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WT/DS386 - United States - Certain Country of Origin Labelling (COOL) Requirements Recourse to Article 21.5 of the DSU by Canada and Mexico (DS384, DS386)

WTO dispute settlement case - EU as third party

Country or region
MexicoUnited States
Trade topics
Dispute settlement
Dispute settlement
WTO - EU as third party

Summary of the case

  • Complaint by: Mexico
  • Complaint against: United States
  • Third parties: EU

The dispute concerns the US country of origin labelling rules for muscle cuts of meat.
Measures at issue: United States’ country of origin labelling (“COOL”) requirements for beef and pork contained in the Agricultural Marketing Act of 1946 and its amending and implementing acts.

Canada and Mexico had claimed that the US COOL regime is inconsistent with the GATT and the TBT Agreements as they were treating imported products less favourably and being more trade restrictive than necessary.

On 23 July 2012, the DSB had adopted the panel and AB reports in the original US – COOL proceedings, faulting the US for inconsistency with WTO rules, in particular for being in breach of Article 2.1 TBT Agreement as the measure was according less favourable treatment to Canadian cattle and hogs and Mexican cattle than to domestic products. On Article 2.2 TBT the Appellate Body reversed the panel’s findings but it was not able to complete the analysis and could therefore not decide whether the measure was more less trade restrictive than necessary.

On 23 May 2013, the US adopted changes to the COOL labelling. Canada and Mexico did not agree that the changes had brought the United States into full compliance with the DSB recommendations and rulings. On 19 August 2013, Canada and Mexico requested the establishment of a compliance panel and challenged the amended COOL.

On 20 October 2014, the compliance panel found that the amended COOL measure violates Article 2.1 of the TBT Agreement because it accords to Canadian and Mexican livestock less favourable treatment than that accorded to like US livestock (the panel also found a violation of Article III:4 GATT). The panel report was appealed by all the parties to the dispute.

The Appellate Body in its report of 18 May 2015 uphold the panel's finding that the amended COOL measure is inconsistent with 2.1 of the TBT and with Article III:4 GATT.


  • Consultations requested: 01 December 2008


Full case details and WTO documents on the WTO website

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