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Mexico to Challenge New US 'Dolphin Safe' Tuna Labelling

16 July 2013

MEXICO - Mexico is challenging the US's new 'Dolphin Safe' tuna labeling stating that it does not meet the World Trade Organization's ruling nor comply with the decision over the discriminatory effect of the label on Mexican tuna exports.

On May 16, 2012, the WTO issued its decision in favour of Mexico in the dispute over the trade restrictive effects caused by the "dolphin-safe" label, confirming that the labelling requirements are discriminatory, affecting the importation and marketing of Mexican tuna in the United States.

The WTO ruling confirms that the fishing methods used by the Mexican fleet are responsible and meet the highest international standards for the protection of dolphins, whilst also ensuring the sustainability of tuna and other marine species in the ecosystem.

Similarly, the WTO ruled that the US regulation does not correctly report to the consumer the real harm that is caused to dolphins under "dolphin-safe".

The WTO granted a period of 13 months for the United States to abide by the decision of the Appellate Body, which expires on July 13, 2013.

On April 5, 2013, the United States published a proposed regulatory change on labeling "dolphin-safe" that Mexico submitted formal comments in opposition because such a regulatory proposal did not address the WTO ruling, holding incentives to highly predatory fishing practices of marine species.

Additionally, the government of Mexico officially informed the USTR in that country, that the new regulation proposed by the United States does not comply with the WTO decision over the discriminatory effect of the measure on Mexican tuna exports.

On July 9, 2013, the United States issued a new regulatory measure that sought to address the WTO ruling.

However, it does not; maintain two different policy regimes.

The Mexican Government is in consultation with the industry to quantify the economic impact. In this sense, Mexico will challenge before the WTO that the United States breached its obligations under.

If confirmed, Mexico will be in a position to impose trade retaliation to the US, for which it is considering suspending benefits in various sectors. Such a suspension shall continue until the United States adequately implements the WTO decision.

Mexico will continue to defend the national fisheries sector and the sustainability of fisheries in the WTO and other international forums. Mexico urges the US to promote sustainable fishing practices to protect dolphins and other species of the marine ecosystem.

TheFishSite News Desk



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