ICYMI: The House COOLs It An act of trade sanity: No more country labels on imported meat.

By: The Wall Street Journal

As Congress continues to debate whether to continue the historic U.S. commitment to free trade, let us note that the House last week committed a remarkable act of trade sanity. It voted 300-131 to remove the so-called country-of-origin-labels, or COOL, on meat sold in the United States. As House Agriculture Chairman Mike Conaway of Texas noted candidly, “The fact is COOL has been a marketing failure.”

The country-of-origin labels—affecting beef, pork and chicken sold in the U.S.—dated to farm bills in 2002 and 2008 and required the label to identify where meat was born, raised and slaughtered. As is often true in trade issues, such as textiles, country-of-origin-labeling is complicated and expensive. It is also used as a weapon for American protectionists to reduce foreign competition.

Also focusing Congressional minds is that the World Trade Organization has ruled such labeling to be discriminatory. Canada and Mexico have filed retaliatory actions valued at some $3.7 billion a year. The Canadians are also talking about slapping their own restrictions on American-made furniture, jewelry and wine.

Free-trade agreements reduce the possibilities for this sort of non-productive nonsense. We hope the Members connect the lessons of COOL to their much bigger trade vote this week.