Mexico appeals WTO resolution on tuna case

The Organization informed that after receiving Mexico's appeal, they have canceled the meeting in which they intended to ratify their report in favor of the U.S.
Tuna processing plant in Chiapas, Mexico - File photo/EL UNIVERSAL
03/12/2017
11:10
Ivette Saldaña
Mexico City
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The Mexican Government has appealed a resolution issued by the World Trade Organization (WTO) in October, in which the organization ruled in favor of the United States on the ongoing dispute on tuna trade.

In this ruling, the WTO considered the U.S. applied, accordingly and pursuant to the international legislation, the changes to their legislation in March 2016 regarding the importation, marketing, and sale of tuna and its derivatives, amendments Mexico claims go against that established by the Organization itself.

From their headquarters in Switzerland, the WTO informed that after receiving Mexico's appeal, they have canceled the meeting on December 4, in which they intended to ratify the report in favor of the U.S.

The WTO will have to review the case once more to determine whether they sustain their previous ruling or modify their resolution.

The case began in 2008, when Mexico asked the WTO to open a case against the United States on the conditions of use of the label “dolphin-safe” which, according to the claim, unfairly restricted access of Mexican tuna to the U.S. market.

Mexico initially won the case in September 2011, when the WTO cautioned the U.S. was establishing laws against free trade, a decision which was later on appealed by the U.S.

The case was considered settled in 2012, and despite the U.S. made changes to its legislation during the first quarter of 2013, the WTO determined their resolution was not taken into consideration for the amendments. Given the posture of the United States to comply with the report of the WTO, Mexico requested in April 2016 an authorization to impose retaliatory measures for USD$472 million.

In April 2017, Mexico was allowed to charge retaliatory measures equivalent to USD$163.23 million per year because the American legislation was found to be against international practices.

The Deputy Minister of Foreign Commerce of the Ministry of Economy, Juan Carlos Baker, claimed this retaliatory measure is still valid and can be enforced at any given moment, yet he cautioned the resolution on the complaint against the legislative amendments made by the United States in 2016 could take another year.

In March 2016, the American government presented a document announcing the changes to its legislation, approved last October by the WTO.

On this regard, former Deputy Minister of Foreign Trade, Francisco de Rosenzweig, said a few weeks ago the resolution of the appeal could take from three to six months.

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