Monday, January 23, 2012

US Appeals WTO Decision in Tuna Dispute

On Friday, January 20, the United States notified the WTO Dispute Settlement Body of its decision to appeal the panel report in case DS381, “United States — Measures Concerning the Importation, Marketing and Sale of Tuna and Tuna Products” - a case that involves the intersection of trade law and environmental issues.

Mexico initiated the proceeding against the US in 2008, alleging that the Dolphin Protection Consumer Information Act and implementing regulations, which set forth conditions for the use of a "dolphin-safe" label on tuna products, were not consistent with Articles I and III of GATT or with Article 2 of the Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Agreement under the WTO.   The WTO Panel rejected Mexico's claim that the US laws discriminate against Mexican tuna products.  However, the panel agreed with Mexico that the US requirements are more trade restrictive than necessary to fulfill legitimate objectives of consumer and dolphin protection.  Therefore, the panel found the US to have violated Article 2 of the TBT.

No schedule has been announced as yet for the WTO Appellate Body proceedings.  More information may be found on the WTO website here.


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