Today, the World
Trade Organization (WTO) published the definitive report by the Special Panel
which reviewed the modifications to “dolphin – safe” tuna labeling in the United
States, reiterating the discriminatory nature of those changes which continue
to negatively affect the competitiveness of Mexican products by unfairly
denying them the “dolphin – safe” label.
The WTO decided in
Mexico’s favor, asserting that the changes to the labeling system implemented
by the United States are restrictive to trade and do not comply with U.S. goals
to inform consumers on the damage that may occur to dolphins during tuna
With this decision,
the WTO again sides with Mexico, demonstrating that the Mexican tuna fishing
industry is capable of reporting and achieving a certain level of protection,
while other fishing industries which do not provide the same level of certainty
are able to obtain the dolphin-safe label. Accordingly, the determination of
the Special Panel affirms that the U.S. labeling system discriminated against
Mexico and, therefore, violates U.S. agreements under the WTO.
The United States
has 60 days to appeal the decision, in which case the final result of this dispute
would be made known by the end of 2015. If the United States does not appeal
the report or if today’s decision is affirmed in the eventual appeal process,
Mexico will have the right to suspend benefits to the United States until the
latter eliminates discriminatory aspects of its dolphin – safe labeling system.
The decision of the
WTO is another important victory not only for Mexico, but for the environment
and all marine species, as well as for consumers who trust in the accuracy of
environmental labeling. The decision reinforces the commitment of Mexico to
fish for tuna in a sustainable way and offer consumers a product that is
traceable from the point of capture to the point of sale in order to verify the
level of protection for dolphins.
continue defending the interests of Mexican industries and ensure the due
compliance of its trading partners to their international commitments.