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Dolphin-safe food labeling declared illegal by globalist trade organization ... Here comes the global censorship of food labeling

Food labeling

(NaturalNews) On November 20, the World Trade Organization (WTO) declared that dolphin-safe labels on cans of tuna are a barrier to trade that place the U.S. in violation of its treaty obligations. The U.S. must stop offering "dolphin-safe" labels or face punitive sanctions from Mexico. Analysts expect the government to cave.

The case is a classic example of what globalization critics have warned of for years: that "free trade" agreements allow foreign corporations to force the repeal of laws that interfere with their profits, thereby gutting protections for consumers, workers and the environment. Observers warn that the soon-to-be implemented Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) contains the exact same provisions, and that more such forced repeals are soon to come.

Your right to know: a barrier to trade

The story of dolphin-safe tuna began in 1972, when the Marine Mammal Protection Act banned the importation of any yellowfin tuna caught using methods that resulted in the death of dolphins. In the preceding decades, millions of dolphins had been killed by tuna nets.

In 1990, Mexico – on behalf of its domestic fishing industry, which continues to use dolphin-killing techniques – appealed to the WTO to strike down this ban. In 1997, Congress sought to resolve the issue by repealing the import ban and replacing it with a voluntary "dolphin-safe" label. This label could be placed on any tuna, regardless of fishing practices, if companies promised no dolphins had been killed. Tuna caught by killing dolphins could once more be openly sold, but without the label.

This concession was not enough. In 2008, Mexico filed another WTO complaint, claiming that the very existence of the dolphin-safe label discriminated against the Mexican fishing industry. In 2011, the WTO ruled in Mexico's favor. The U.S. has repeatedly weakened the dolphin-safe label in an attempt to strike a compromise.

The most recent ruling is final and can no longer be appealed: the label has to go, or Mexico can levy retribution against U.S. imports.

"Informing consumers of the fishing practices used to catch their tuna, the WTO concluded, represented a 'technical barrier to trade,'" writes David Dayen at The Intercept.

Worse to come

According to Tim Reif, general counsel at the U.S. Trade Representative's Office, the ruling does not actually require the U.S. to change its laws, as no international body can actually do that. But observers note that when threatened with trade sanctions, the U.S. consistently does change its laws. After all, the U.S. has already changed its dolphin-safe laws numerous times just in response to this single complaint.

In another recent case, the WTO ruled in May that a U.S. law requiring country-of-origin labels on meat and produce posed a trade barrier, and Mexico and Canada threatened $3.7 billion in sanctions if the law was not repealed. The House of Representatives voted to repeal the law in June.

The dolphin-safe ruling takes on particular significance in light of the ongoing debate over the massive TPP trade deal being promoted by the Obama administration. The TPP contains the same language that allowed Mexico to file a WTO complaint over tuna. And while the White House claims that the TPP contains measures to protect wildlife, in fact the agreement contains only empty phrases binding members to "take measures" to combat wildlife trade.

The TPP has also been criticized for provisions expected to lead to strengthening Big Pharma patents at the expense of human health, limiting GMO labeling, outsourcing of more U.S. jobs, restricting Internet speech, weakening regulations of Wall Street, and promoting privatization of land and natural resources inhabited by indigenous people.

The case of dolphin-safe tuna "should serve as a warning against expansive trade deals like the Trans-Pacific Partnership that would replicate rules that undermine safeguards for wildlife, clean air, and clean water," said Ilana Solomon of the Sierra Club.

Sources for this article include:




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