For Canada, the SPS is SPS – El Financiero

In my last installment, I commented that Mexico's position in the document it submitted to the court responsible for the dispute over GM corn is that the provisions of Articles 9.6 and 2.11 of the T-MEC do not apply to the Decree of February 13, 2023. Because it seeks to achieve other goals , which is to protect the health and safety of those living in Mexican territory. Moreover, since the Decree seeks to protect indigenous maize and peasant communities, it justifies invoking the protection of public morals and the conservation of depletable natural resources, which Article 32.1 provides, as well as the protection of the rights of indigenous peoples, which Article 32.5 of the Treaty provides. Mexican arguments look in a very limited way at the role Codex Alimentarius and the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC), two key instruments underpinning Chapter IX of the USMCA and the WTO Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (AMSF) Agreement.

In its March 15 comments on the Mexican document, the Government of Canada clarified that the scope of the T-MEC’s definition of “sanitary or phytosanitary measures” (SPS) includes the Ordinance. Accordingly, it is highlighted that the scope of Chapter IX covers all sanitary and phytosanitary measures that may affect trade between the three countries directly or indirectly, and therefore the argument that the decree did not cause harm to US exports does not apply. The document prepared by Secretary Mary Nge's team shares many similarities with the US Trade Representative's October 25 complaint, and poses specific questions for the committee to determine its position, citing 49 international cases.

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The definition of sanitary and phytosanitary measures, agreed upon in the NAFTA negotiations, was essential to prevent these measures from being applied as disguised or unnecessary barriers to trade. Countries have the right to apply any sanitary and phytosanitary measures they consider necessary to protect the health and safety of their people, but they must do so in accordance with the principles of Chapter IX, which specifies the use of relevant international sanitary and phytosanitary measures, where they exist, or where they do not exist, to proceed. Based on a transparent risk assessment.

like him Codex Alimentarius A recognized compendium of internationally available standards for the production, preparation, transport, distribution and preservation of food and beverages, the IPPC provides various protocols for making reliable risk assessments. Canada and the United States agree that Mexico did not provide information supporting the need for this decree, nor did it explain the methodology used to assess the risks, and therefore the Mexican government was unable to conclude that GM corn poses a health risk.

One of the guiding principles for the design and implementation of sanitary and phytosanitary measures in the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement is that such a measure does not restrict trade too much, which is another reason to have a reliable risk assessment. For this reason, the Canadian Government asked the Commission to analyze whether there was another measure less restrictive than the ban imposed by the Mexican decree that would allow the same objectives to be achieved. This is an essential element in determining the compensation that Washington and Ottawa may be entitled to.

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Finally, the Canadian comments assert that the document submitted by the Ministry of the Economy in January does not sufficiently justify the application of the exceptions in Article 32.1. First, it asks for a broader interpretation that justifies that the decree is an appropriate measure to protect public morals, as there appears to be no evidence for this. Second, how can you justify that Mexican corn is exhaustible? In either case, Canada points out that the Mexican document does not explain how it will comply with the conditions hat of Article XX of the GATT, in order to confirm that the Decree does not constitute a disguised obstacle to trade, nor does it lead to discrimination.

The document concludes by asking whether the decree is a means of properly defending indigenous rights, since it appears to refer to defending the rights of the population in general. It is worth noting that the issue received support for the decree from more than 30 Canadian organizations that highlight the right of Mexican indigenous communities to defend their crops. Let us now wait for Ambassador Tai's comments on Tuesday and Wednesday before her conference.

Sacha Woodward

"Wannabe writer. Lifelong problem solver. Gamer. Incurable web guru. Professional music lover."

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