Tribunal Slams Ecuador with Largest Ever Investor-State Penalty
Halloween Start for Panama FTA Means Tricks, No Treats for 99% as Panama Makes Top Tax Haven List and Job-Killing FTA Deficits Rise

Congress Asks Trade Rep to Stand Up for Dolphins Despite WTO

To commemmorate this week's 40th anniversary of the Marine Mammal Protection Act, twenty-two members of Congress sent a letter today to U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk, urging him to defend the U.S. "dolphin-safe" tuna labeling program in the face of the WTO ruling against the successful dolphin-saving label earlier this year.  Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), ranking member of the House Natural Resources Committee, championed the letter, which follows one sent to President Obama in May.  

The letter calls the WTO ruling "misguided," saying it "has threatened to turn back the clock to the days when foreign fleets killed tens of thousands of dolphins each year in a tuna fishing free-for-all."  The letter notes that the "dolphin-safe" label has contributed to a 97% reduction of dolphin deaths in the Eastern Pacific in the last 25 years.  It further argues that the label cannot violate WTO national treatment rules as a voluntary program available to any country for tuna caught under dolphin-safe practices.  The members of Congress who signed the letter conclude that the WTO ruling "presents the United States with two equally unacceptable options: spend limited regulatory resources to enforce dolphin-safe tuna fishing requirements in oceans where dolphins and tuna do not intermingle, or allow Mexico to sell dolphin-unsafe tuna to U.S. consumers under a dolphin-safe label."  

The congressional letter comes as Mexico, which launched the WTO case against the U.S. "dolphin-safe" label, formally joins the U.S. and nine other countries as a negotiating member of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).  The TPP negotiations in December, to be held in New Zealand, will be the first with Mexico's participation.  Today's letter urges U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk to "incorporate resolution of this WTO dispute" into the TPP negotiations to "ensure that we do not weaken or eliminate our successful dolphin-safe labeling regime."  In a press release, Markey said, "Moving this dispute into the TPP negotiations is a necessary and appropriate step to ensure that U.S. consumers know that when they are eating tuna, they aren’t killing dolphins."  

The signatories to today's letter are an eclectic mix of House representatives, including fifteen ranking members of diverse committees and subcommittees:

  • Natural Resources: Markey (Ranking Member of full committee), Grijalva (National Parks)
  • Foreign Affairs: Faleomavaega (Asia/Pacific), Meeks (Europe/Asia)
  • Transportation: Brown (Railroads), Larsen (Maritime)
  • Appropriations: Farr (Agriculture), Honda (Legislative Branch)
  • Education and Workforce: Miller (Ranking Member of full committee)
  • Armed Services: Bordallo (Readiness),  Davis (Military Personnel)
  • Homeland Security: Keating (Oversight)
  • Intelligence: Schakowsky (Oversight)
  • Oversight: Kucinich (Regulatory Affairs)
  • Judiciary: Nadler (Constitution)

For more background on the WTO ruling against the "dolphin-safe" label, click here.  

Print Friendly and PDF


Lisa Nicole Lenger

Please sign our petition on the White House website to get the U.S. out of the WTO

Wayne Elsey

I’m really enjoying the design and layout of your site. It’s a very easy on the eyes which makes it much more pleasant for me to come here and visit more often. Did you hire out a designer to create your theme? Excellent work!

replica watches

Mayebe I'll follow you within this web page, i always will get hem!

Todd Newton

I love jotting down ideas for my blog, so I doodle or take notes on all kinds of stuff that inspires me: the people I meet, boutiques I visit, a florist that just gave me a great idea for an interior-design project, things like that.

hi good look your eyes nice posting good color your site i like this blog.

glock guide rods

You're trying to instill lifelong safety habits, and nothing you say speaks as loudly as your own.


very nice site good color your site thanks for sharing information i like this blog.

church fundraiser

hi good information sharing nice idea i pray for you admin loving article i enjoy this blog.

The comments to this entry are closed.