October 4, 2013
The fight over Mexican tuna, and whether it is truly fished using dolphin safe practices, rages on. Mexico recently won a two decade long fight to get its tuna labeled dolphin safe. The WTO this month ruled in its favor. But the U.S. still refuses to allow Mexican tuna with a dolphin safe label on store shelves. Mexico says it’s had enough and is preparing to retaliate with trade sanctions on U.S. imports. Ensenada, Baja California, was once the thriving heart of the Mexican tuna industry.
June 10, 2013
Mexico’s Economy Ministry said on Friday it was considering suspending preferential trade tariffs with the United States for a variety of products in a simmering dispute over meat labeling. The disagreement stems from a 2009 U.S. requirement that retail outlets specify the country of origin on labels on meat and other products in an effort to give consumers more information about the safety and origin of their food.
Canada and Mexico have complained to the World Trade Organization that the COOL (country-of-origin labeling) rules discriminated against imported livestock. The trade body ordered the United States to comply with WTO rules by May 23, but the U.S. government made revisions that Canada and Mexico say would only make the situation worse.
May 28, 2013
The Washington Post, 5/24/2013
New rules for U.S. meatpackers will require labeling that tells consumers where the animal was born, raised and slaughtered. Sounds simple. But the regulations, posted Friday by the Department of Agriculture, are the latest move in a trade dispute that has pitted U.S. consumer groups, which favor the labels, against free-trade advocates, who say the regulations are biased against cattle and pork from Canada and Mexico.
Nor are the regulations likely to be the last word in the international controversy, which seems destined to wind up — again — before the World Trade Organization, which has previously ruled that U.S. labeling regulations discriminated against Canadian and Mexican livestock. The dispute over meat labeling is one of a handful in recent years in which U.S. efforts to regulate food and other products have been rejected by the WTO. The WTO has ruled against U.S. “dolphin-safe” tuna labels and weighed in as well against a ban on clove-flavored cigarettes.
May 22, 2013
The United States is not respecting a World Trade Organization (WTO) ruling on meat labeling, Mexico’s Agriculture Minister Enrique Martinez said on Tuesday, saying it was hurting local industry. The WTO ruled in late June last year that a U.S. program for labeling imported meat unfairly discriminated against Mexico and Canada, putting pressure on the United States to bring the scheme in line with global country-of-origin meat-labeling rules.
“We can’t understand why once the very WTO … issues a ruling, the government of the United States does not respect it,” Martinez said. “We have talked with beef producers in the United States and Canada, and totally agree this is an arbitrary decision and means discrimination against Mexican beef, which we will never agree with and as a government will defend against.”
May 9, 2013
Mexico congratulated Brazilian diplomat Roberto Azevedo for his victory in the race to lead the World Trade Organization, confirming the defeat of its candidate, former Mexican trade chief Herminio Blanco. Mexico’s economy ministry said that, according to the three ambassadors in charge of leading the election process, Azevedo was “the candidate favored by the WTO membership” and that Blanco called him to “express his full support in his new post.”
“Mexico congratulates Ambassador Roberto Azevedo for his election,” the ministry said in a statement. Diplomats said earlier that Azevedo, Brazil’s ambassador to the 159-nation organization, narrowly defeated Blanco in the final round of voting in the closed-door contest. Seven other candidates had been eliminated in earlier rounds.
May 7, 2013
Latin America’s two largest nations are vying for economic and diplomatic clout as their candidates face off as finalists to head the World Trade Organization. The WTO is scheduled to name by May 8 the first director- general from Latin America in its 18-year history. It will choose between Roberto Azevedo, Brazil (BZGDGDP4)’s representative to the Geneva-based group, and Herminio Blanco, a former Mexico trade minister who led the nation’s negotiations for the North American Free Trade Agreement with the U.S. and Canada. The winner will replace the outgoing WTO chief, France’s Pascal Lamy, in September.
The race is a contest for diplomatic prowess as Mexico draws on its faster growth and more open economy to fortify its candidate, said Michael Shifter, president of Inter-American Dialogue in Washington. Analysts polled by Bloomberg forecast Mexico will outgrow its southern peer for the third straight year in 2013, reversing a trend that allowed Brazil to pull ahead as the region’s largest market in 2005. “There’s rivalry and competition there,” Shifter said by telephone from Washington. “Mexico is feeling very confident. As they seek to gain more international clout, Brazil is on their mind.”
April 26, 2013
The next head of the World Trade Organization will be either Mexico’s Herminio Blanco or Brazil’s Roberto Azevedo, guaranteeing a Latin American nation will hold the top job at the global trade body for the first time. Blanco and Azevedo emerged as the only candidates remaining after the second of three rounds of competition to succeed Pascal Lamy on Sept 1, a diplomatic source said on Thursday.
The winner, who will emerge by the end of May, faces a huge challenge of restoring confidence in the WTO’s ability to negotiate a global trade deal. The job confers little executive power, forcing the holder to rely on diplomacy, wit and persuasion. Azevedo is Brazil’s ambassador to the WTO and Blanco is a veteran trade negotiator who led Mexico in the NAFTA free trade talks.
April 24, 2013
The Wall Street Journal, 4/24/13
The world’s most important trade body needs a major shake-up in leadership to revive the long-dormant Doha round of global trade talks or else it will become irrelevant among newer, fleeter free-trade agreements, said Herminio Blanco, one of the candidates to take over the World Trade Organization.
Mr. Blanco, who was Mexico’s chief negotiator to create the landmark North American Free Trade Agreement and represented Mexico in the last successful global trade round that created the WTO two decades ago, told The Wall Street Journal in a recent interview that the WTO risked becoming a simple referee of its increasingly outdated rules rather than leading global trade.
August 28, 2012
“The government of Mexico reiterates its deep worry over the protectionist measures that Argentina is applying, as well as practices that lack transparency and affect trade between our two nations and generate uncertainty,” Mexico’s Economy Ministry said in a statement.
It said Argentina and Mexico should hold consultations over the next 30 days to try and find a mutually acceptable way out. It could ask the WTO to set up a panel to adjudicate if there is no resolution within 60 days, it said…
Mexico exported almost $2 billion in goods to Argentina last year, double the amount of trade coming the other way. But after Argentina introduced new import hurdles in February, trade has taken a knock. In June, the latest month for which data is available, Mexico exported goods worth $111 million to Argentina, down nearly 40 percent from 2011.
December 12, 2011
Camisas deportivas, velas, bicicletas, hilos de poliéster, suéteres, tenis, zapatos tipo industrial y licuadoras, entre 204 productos diferentes, producidos en China podrán entrar a México desde hoy sin pagar ninguna medida remedial.
Hasta este día, y luego de 4 años en las que estos artículos estuvieron protegidos por medidas de transición luego de un esquema de cuotas compensatorias que duró otros seis años, los productos pagaban una cuota adicional ad valorem de 25 por ciento en el caso más bajo y hasta de 350 por ciento en el más alto. Read more…
The Mexico Institute’s Christopher Wilson commented on this topic in the latest edition of the Inter-American Dialogue’s Latin America Advisor:
Since joining the WTO, China’s share of Mexican imports rose from 2% in 2001 to 15% in September of 2011. Expect this trend to continue when Mexico’s tariffs on 204 products drop to most-favored-nation rates this month, making Chinese imports of those goods significantly cheaper. The vast majority of affected products are consumer goods like clothing, shoes and toys. For these, consumers are likely to benefit from lower prices while manufacturers are challenged to either increase productivity or go out of business. There is little doubt that Mexico’s footwear industry, in particular, will be significantly weakened. A few of the affected products are intermediate goods, such as chemicals, fabrics, and mechanical parts. Reducing tariffs on these goods will challenge their domestic producers, but should also decrease costs for manufacturers using them as inputs. Although Chinese exports probably benefit from a certain degree of artificial and unfair advantage, Chinese manufacturers of goods like garments and shoes also tend to outcompete their Mexican counterparts. Mexico must take measures to increase productivity, shift to higher-skill industries, and engage rather than shy away from the rising Asian economies. Finally, the lower tariffs may also have a positive side effect, working as a disincentive to the tariff evading techniques, such as incorrectly classifying goods or sending them through third countries, that are used by some Chinese exporters.