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US Appeals Tuna-Dolphin Decision at WTO

20 January 2012: The World Trade Organization (WTO) was informed by the United States that it will appeal the results of the new round of disputes on the WTO's "Tuna-Dolphin" case. The WTO's panel report had found that the US' provisions on dolphin-safe labeling of tuna were more trade-restrictive than necessary, and that Mexico had provided a less-restrictive alternative also capable of dolphin protection and informing consumers.

The US notified the Dispute Settlement Body of the decision to appeal the panel report in dispute case DS381, “United States — Measures Concerning the Importation, Marketing and Sale of Tuna and Tuna Products.” This Panel ruled in this dispute, inter alia, that the US' dolphin-safe labeling provisions do not discriminate against Mexican tuna products, but that Mexico had demonstrated that those provisions are more trade-restrictive than necessary, for fulfilling the legitimate objectives of ensuring that consumers are not misled or deceived about whether tuna products contain tuna that was caught in a manner that adversely affects dolphins, and contributing to the protection of dolphins. Mexico, meanwhile, was found to have provided a less trade-restrictive alternative, capable of achieving the same level of protection of the objective pursued by the US provisions.

Third parties to the dispute include Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Ecuador, EU, Guatemala, Japan, Republic of Korea, New Zealand, Chinese Taipei, Thailand, Turkey, and Venezuela. [WTO News] [WTO Dispute DS 381]