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Congress may repeal meat labeling law

WASHINGTON — House Republicans are hoping to repeal a law requiring country-of-origin labels on packages of meat to avoid costly trade retaliation from Canada and Mexico.

The World Trade Organization ruled against the law last month, saying the labels that say where animals were born, raised and slaughtered are discriminatory toward the two U.S. border countries. Canada and Mexico have said they will now ask the WTO for permission to raise tariffs on U.S. goods.

The House on Wednesday began debate on legislation that would repeal the law for beef, pork and poultry. A vote was expected later in the day.

Congress required the labels in 2008, mostly at the behest of the northern U.S. ranchers who compete with the Canadian cattle industry. Consumer advocates also have supported the labels.

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