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The American agriculture industry generally applauded a move to finalize the U.S.-Mexico-Canada free-trade agreement, with one notable exception.

In a statement Tuesday, cattle producer group R-CALF USA blasted the deal, saying the failure to restore country of origin labeling, or COOL, on beef allows imported supplies to continue undercutting U.S. ranchers.

The group said COOL rules for beef and pork that were repealed in 2016 would have allowed U.S. ranchers to “compete against the duty-free, cheaper and undifferentiated cattle and beef flowing into our country and depressing our markets.”

Opposition to the deal was relatively limited as U.S. farmers should largely gain from tariff-free access to the neighboring countries. One big beneficiary would be beleaguered U.S. dairy farmers, who would get new access to Canada’s market

Crop handler and processor Archer-Daniels-Midland Co. said USMCA will provide “meaningful benefits for agriculture and food industries in all three countries.”

Meanwhile, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, which represents cattle farmers and feeders, said: “There is no higher policy priority for America’s beef producers than maintaining our duty-free access to Canada and Mexico.”

With assistance from Isis Almeida, Dominic Carey and Mike Dorning.

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