Mexico halts bid for COOL retaliation

Mexico City | Reuters — Mexico has halted a bid to impose retaliatory trade measures on the U.S. over meat labeling rules after U.S. lawmakers repealed them this week, a Mexican government official said.

Mexico had announced earlier this month it would start internal procedures to strip benefits from some U.S. agricultural and industrial imports, including apples, dairy items, alcoholic drinks and personal hygiene products.

The measures would have gone into effect on Dec. 22, the government official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

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The proposed move came after the World Trade Organization (WTO) authorized the retaliation against the United States’ country-of-origin labeling (COOL) rules on meat and certain other foods.

The U.S. Congress on Friday passed a broad 2016 spending package that includes the repeal of the rules in question, in order to avoid more than US$1 billion in trade retaliation by Mexico and Canada.

In a statement Saturday, Mexico’s economy ministry said both the Canadian and Mexican governments welcomed the repeal, but did not specifically comment on the proposed retaliatory measures.

Reporting for Reuters by Ana Isabel Martinez; writing by Alexandra Alper.

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