US loses tuna trade battle with Mexico

US loses tuna trade battle with Mexico
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The World Trade Organization (WTO) on Tuesday ruled that Mexico could impose $163 million a year of sanctions against the U.S. for unfairly penalizing Mexican tuna for not being "dolphin safe."

According to a report by CNN Money, the U.S. has demanded that Mexican fishermen avoid killing dolphins while fishing for tuna, a practice that was common in the past.

Mexico rejects the U.S.'s accusations, maintaining that its fishermen follow all the rules of the international community. 

Mexican officials insist that other countries didn't face the same level of enforcement from the U.S. 

The sanction set by the WTO is the amount it says Mexico has lost from the unfair penalization.

The WTO ruled against the tuna labeling program in November 2015, calling it a “technical barrier to trade.” 

The organization is also expected to re-examine the program this summer in order to determine if the U.S. needs to change the labeling program or face trade sanctions. 

Tuesday's decision comes amid President Trump's plan to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) as part of his campaign pledge.

Ben Beachy, senior policy adviser for the Sierra Club’s Responsible Trade Program, said that "with renegotiation of NAFTA on the horizon, today’s decision serves as yet another warning that we need a complete replacement of these decades-old trade deals that prioritize corporate profits over good jobs, healthy communities, clean air and water and protection for wildlife."
“The U.S. government should not cave to pressure from the WTO by weakening the dolphin-saving label," Beachy added.

According to CNN, Mexico's economic ministry said that it will proceed to reclaim the $163 million awarded by the WTO.

- Vicki Needham contributed