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U.S. agricultural proposal violates WTO rules, says Mexico

Staff Writer |
The U.S. proposal to facilitate the lifting of dumping or subsidies cases on 61 agricultural products from Mexico, violates the rules of the World Trade Organization (WTO), said Eugenio Salinas, the technical secretary of the Mexican private sector's Cuarto de Junto.

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Cuarto de Junto is a group of experts from the private sector that accompany the Mexican government's negotiation group.

"The provisions of the WTO say that, in these cases, one must consider the generality of the industry that produces a product. Trying to limit the number of producers or a time of the year when this happens is contrary to the provisions of the WTO," he added.

Currently, there are two principles that define the domestic industry's ability to carry out investigations for dumping or subsidies: the calendar year (which can cover several cycles, as in the case of sugar) and the national production (in the case of Mexico, its 32 entities).

The United States claims that investigations of unfair trade practices can be carried out with data from each season, i.e. the period from planting to harvest, for example, corn, four months, or berries, two months. In addition, they ask that production be considered by region, for example, only from Michoacan and Jalisco in a certain product.

"People consume tomatoes, carrots, melons, and apples throughout the year. If I lower that standard to determine a time of year, I would be facilitating that a group of producers, and not the national industry as stated by the WTO, could present a case of dumping," Salinas argued.

This list includes perishable goods in which Mexico has an export strength, such as mangoes, tomatoes, strawberries, avocados, citrus fruits, papayas, watermelons, and berries.

"Furthermore, there also are other technicalities to take into consideration. For example, the price of seasonal products changes a lot. It's something that happens a lot in Mexico with chili, avocado, and lemon.

"Sometimes they cost five pesos, sometimes 80. That also has to be done through the mechanisms of the period under investigation, which generally covers a full year," Salinas added.


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