MCOOL and the Politics of Country-of-Origin Labeling

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From the Preface by Fred L. Smith, Jr.:

The Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) is pleased to co-publish this study with the Fraser Institute. CEI has long pointed out the nefarious nature of non-tariff trade barriers, which have become more prevalent as traditional protectionist approaches come un der greater scru tiny.

As multilateral, regional, and bilateral trade agreements have dramatically reduced tariffs among most trading countries, protectionist interests have become extremely creative at finding less direct ways to protect their domestic industries. Since overt protectionist measures would violate these agreements, and in many cases, violate World Trade Organi zation (WTO) rules, opponents of trade liberalization have turned to non-tariff barriers to achieve their anti-competitive objectives. Usually, these are disguised as needed rules to advance the public good, ensure consumer safety and welfare, protect the environment, or any combination of these goals. Too often, these new fangled protectionist measures succeed, rolling back the gains of free trade.