In US - Tuna II (Mexico), the WTO Appellate Body ruled that the US 'dolphin safe' labelling scheme for canned tuna violated the national treatment obligations of the United States under the WTO Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT Agreement). However, it rejected Mexico's claims that the labelling law was 'more trade-restrictive than necessary' to fulfil the US objectives of dolphin conservation.
The decision of the Appellate Body in US - Tuna II (Mexico) and its earlier ruling in US - Clove Cigarettes2 provide a clear indication of the tribunal's interpretive approach to key provisions of the TBT Agreement. Importantly, the Appellate Body has adopted a competition-based approach to determining whether a technical regulation provides 'less favourable treatment' to imported like products. The Appellate Body decisions thus root the national treatment disciplines of the TBT Agreement firmly within the jurisprudence of the GATT.Global Trade and Customs Journal