The World Trade Organization (WTO) last Friday ruled in favor of Canada and Mexico and made official its finding that the U.S.’ Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) law violates WTO rules.

The United States is most likely to appeal the panel’s decision to the WTO Appellate Body, but most observers believe that such an appeal is unlikely to succeed and the result will not change, paving the way for Canada and Mexico, and possibly other countries, to place punitive tariffs on an equivalent amount of U.S. products.

If the panel’s decision stands, analysts said the United States must amend the Agricultural Marketing Act of 1946 and the COOL regulations to conform U.S. law to the WTO panel’s decision or may otherwise resolve this dispute with Canada and Mexico.

Should the U.S. appeal, which the United States Trade Representative is currently considering, it will have a year after the appeal ruling is received to make changes to the law to avoid retaliatory trade restrictions.

The WTO’s ruling issued last week is available at