Today's House Passage of H.R. 408: A Bill to Implement the GATT Ruling Against U.S. Dolphin Protections

Public Citizen News Release
May 21, 1997

Statement by Lori Wallach, Director of Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch

"Today the House of Representatives caved in to pressure from Mexico and the World Trade Organization and voted to gut U.S. dolphin protections. The passage of H.R. 408 sends a message that Congress is willing to change domestic laws on the orders of the GATT/World Trade Organization.

The House voted to implement a 1991 GATT ruling won by Mexico against our dolphin protections. The bill would allow the sale of tuna in the U.S. with a "dolphin safe" label which is caught in ways that kill hundreds of thousands of dolphins. This would be a horrible fraud on American consumers. Members of Congress who voted for H.R. 408 sold out to foreign tuna lobbyists and World Trade Organization threats.

Other vital U.S. environmental, labor, food or health safety standards are equally vulnerable to attack at the World Trade Organization. How many WTO attacks will it take before we see the obvious? It is not U.S. laws like the Marine Mammal Protection Act that need to be changed, it is the GATT-WTO that needs a fix.

Given the recent WTO attacks on the environment, health and food safety, the Senate must reject this bill implementing the GATT ruling against our dolphin law. The Senate is now the last line of defense to protect U.S. sovereignty to set domestic standards, consumers from fraud and hundreds of thousands of dolphins from certain slaughter."


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