NAFTA: US, Mexico at Odds over ‘Dolphin-Safe’ Tuna
The US is seeking talks with Mexico to determine who should field their complaint over ‘dolphin-safe’ tuna. In March, Mexico filed a complaint with the WTO regarding US labeling rules.
The United States Trade Representative (USTR) believes that the issue should be resolved by a NAFTA panel rather than the WTO, as trade disputes involving conservation and environmental issues, the United States says NAFTA is the proper forum if the respondent requests it. This is the first such NAFTA venue challenge, the USTR said.
The United States bars the “dolphin-safe” label on tuna caught by boats using purse seine nets that also snare dolphins — a technique used by Mexican vessels, the U.S. Trade Representative’s office said.
“We are enforcing the right that the United States, Canada and Mexico negotiated in the NAFTA,” USTR spokeswoman Debbie Mesloh said in a statement.
“This is an important right that has not previously been invoked by a NAFTA party, and defending our right under this clause preserves and strengthens the NAFTA dispute settlement regime.”