Earth Island Institute

Environmental Organizations Object to Mexico’s Sabotage of NAFTA Dolphin Safe Tuna Case

Ask President Obama to Engage President Felipe Calderon

Six major environmental and animal welfare organizations have asked President Obama to use his influence with Mexican President Felipe Calderon to stop the Mexican government’s sabotaging the legally-required process over the Dolphin Safe tuna label issue before the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

The organizations include Earth Island Institute (International Marine Mammal Project), Humane Society International, Center for Biological Diversity, Animal Welfare Institute, International Fund for Animal Welfare, and Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch.

Mexico challenged the U.S. Dolphin Safe tuna label before the World Trade Organization (WTO). While the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) has actively complied with its responsibilities under the WTO, USTR also took steps in September of 2010 to transfer the case to NAFTA under Article 2005(4) of Chapter 20, which requires that NAFTA be the sole forum to hear the dispute when certain conditions are met.

For more than a year, however, the Government of Mexico has refused to either take any steps to appoint a dispute panel in the NAFTA dispute or agree to transfer the WTO case to NAFTA.

Mexico has dragged out this dispute more than 20 years – 20 years when the Mexican government could have been helping their fishermen transition to tuna fishing methods that would save dolphin lives.

At the behest of a handful of tuna millionaires, the Mexican government has thrown up every legal and political roadblock imaginable – methods that US courts described as flagrant meddling.  Their refusal to even respond to this legal inquiry shows that they follow the letter of their international obligations only when it suits them.  Meanwhile, dolphins are paying the ultimate price.

President Obama is scheduled to meet with Mexican President Calderon on November 13th in Honolulu.

International Marine Mammal Project
is a project of Earth Island Institute.
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