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|October 15, 1998||
US rises against WTO ruling in India's favour
United States Trade Representative Charlene Barshefsky has challenged the World Trade Organisation ruling that America discriminated against India and three other countries while implementing its sea turtle law.
She was commenting on the WTO finding that reversed a lower panel's ruling against the US law, aimed at protecting sea turtles from shrimpers.
The 1990 law restricts shrimp imports from countries where shrimpers do not employ turtle-excluder devices, as US shrimpers are required.
The WTO appellate body issued a report to this effect Monday in a case brought up by India, Pakistan, Malaysia and Thailand.
The appellate body reversed the findings of an April 1998 dispute settlement panel report, saying that the earlier interpretation was ''a result abhorrent to the principles of interpretation we are bound to apply.''
Though it agreed that the US law is covered by an exception to WTO rules for measures relating to the conservation of exhaustible natural resources, it faulted the way the law was administered.
''The appellate body has rightly recognised that our shrimp-turtle law is an important and legitimate conservation measure, and not protectionist,'' said Barshefsky, ''But we disagree with the appellate body's assessment that we have not implemented the law in an even-handed manner.''
She said the administration would consult the congress and interested members of the public before responding to the report.
''This administration is committed to the highest levels of environmental protection and the protection of endangered spices, including sea turtles. The appellate body report does not suggest that we weaken our environmental laws in any respect, and we do not intend to do so. We will evaluate our options in light of what best achieves our firm objective of protecting endangered sea turtles,'' the USTR added.
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