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USA Blocks Mexico’s Appeal On Dolphin Safe Conflict

A new attempt by Mexico to get the World Trade Organization (WTO) to solve a long-standing tuna-dolphin dispute has allegedly been blocked by the United States. According to a report by AFP, Washington delegation rejected a call by Mexico for the WTO to rule on whether the US legislation breaks global trade rules.

The long running disagreement was set to go another round at the WTO after Mexico City formally filed a request for the establishment of a “compliance panel” with the global trade arbiter, over the US’ dolphin-safe labelling scheme. But with the US having the ability on a one time basis to block the request, the matter will not hit WTO agenda until January 2014.

Washington and Mexico have been in quarrels for several years over the tuna-labelling issue at the WTO. Mexico argued successfully last year that the regulation imposed by the US for tuna products to carry a “dolphin-safe” logo was an illegal means to keep its imports out. Tuna trade with the US is worth billions of dollars to Mexico, according to Mexican officials. In 2012, the US imported over 1 million cartons (48x5oz cans) of canned tuna from Mexico.

AFP outlines that the US won an initial bout, but the victory was overturned on appeal last year, with the WTO’s dispute settlement panel agreeing that the labelling rules afforded less favorable treatment to Mexican-caught tuna.

According to AFP, the WTO said that the main problem with the US measures was that they were not even-handed in the way they address the risks to dolphins arising from different fishing techniques in various areas of the ocean.