Published On: Sat, Apr 29th, 2017

Mexico could seek millions from U.S. in “dolphin-safe” tuna dispute

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As previously published on the San Miguel Times, the Trump’s administration is just about to loose a trade battle with Mexico.

Mexico has long argued that U.S. labeling rules for dolphin-safe tuna unfairly restrict its access to the U.S. market. And in a decision Tuesday, the World Trade Organization agreed, saying Mexico may seek $163 million annually from the U.S. in retaliatory measures.

The controversial labeling rules, aimed at protecting dolphins from getting ensnared in fishing nets and killed, date back to 1990.

“The U.S. has long criticized Mexico’s fishing practices in Pacific waters, saying its use of nets and chasing dolphins to find large schools of lucrative yellow fin tuna greatly harms the mammals,” NPR’s Carrie Kahn reports from Mexico City.

“The U.S. allows the dolphin-safe label on tuna cans that meet its no-kill standards,” Carrie adds. “Mexico says it has brought down dolphin deaths to international standards but has long been refused the label.”

Mexico had claimed that its annual losses amounted to $472.3 million, far exceeding the U.S. claim of $8.5 million to $21.9 million. But the WTO put the figure at $163 million a year.

Following the decision, The Associated Press reported, Mexico’s government said in a statement that it would ” ‘immediately ask the WTO’s Dispute Settlement Body for authorization to suspend benefits’ and also begin an internal process of targeting imports from the United States.”

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative said in a statement that the decision was disappointing, saying it “dramatically overstates the actual level of trade effects on sales of Mexican tuna caught by intentionally chasing and capturing dolphins in nets.” The statement added that the trade body did not consider the latest version of the labeling rules.

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