Mexico will be allowed to impose trade sanctions of up to MUSD$163.23 a year against the United States, after winning a longstanding dispute over tuna labelling rules, a World Trade Organization (WTO) arbitrator ruled Tuesday.
Mexico’s Economy Ministry said it would take immediate action to initiate trade sanctions. However, the ruling could be overturned this year if the WTO finds that the United States has stopped discriminating against tuna caught by its southern neighbour.
Mexico’s claim, dating back to 2008, focused on US “safe dolphin” labelling rules, which Mexico said unfairly penalized its fishing industry.
Mexico claimed that it had reduced dolphin deaths to a minimum, but was being discriminated against by US lawsuits and sometimes by government observers.
If the WTO determines that the US halted discrimination, Mexico will have to stop retaliatory sanctions. The WTO plans to take a decision in July.