OMC Autoriza a México a Suspender Beneficios Comerciales a Estados Unidos en la Disputa del Atún

by Holland & Knight LLP
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México es uno de los pocos países a los que se les ha autorizado adoptar medidas de retorsión en contra de los incumplimientos de sus socios comerciales, y que ha hecho uso de esa autorización.

Después de casi nueve años de litigio entre México y Estados Unidos ante la Organización Mundial del Comercio (OMC)1 por la discriminación en contra del atún mexicano al negarle la etiqueta Dolphin Safe y al mismo tiempo permitir su uso a las importaciones de otros países sin supervisar si efectivamente se ocasiona daño a los delfines, el pasado 25 de abril se publicó la decisión arbitral que le autoriza a México a suspender beneficios comerciales equivalentes a los Estados Unidos por un monto de 163 millones de dólares estadounidenses por año.

Conforme a las reglas de la OMC, México podrá suspender beneficios (i.e. incrementar aranceles en productos del mismo sector, en otro sector del mismo acuerdo, o bajo otro acuerdo), en tanto Estados Unido no retire el etiquetado o lo modifique de tal manera que se cumplan con las reglas de la OMC al eliminar sus aspectos discriminatorios. Aunque no se conoce aún la lista de productos a los que México podría incrementar aranceles (que es la forma más común de suspender beneficios), en ocasiones anteriores los productos objeto de represalia han sido: Jarabe de Maíz de Alta Fructosa, Vinos, Brandy, Whiskey, cuadernos, muebles de madera, entre otros. (por el caso Escobas de Mijo – 1996); vinos y lácteos (caso Enmienda Byrd - 2005)2; y diversos productos agrícolas incluyendo vino y jugos, cebollas, papas, Y MÁS en 2009 y manzanas, jugos, aparatos domésticos, entre otros, en 2010 (represalias en "carrusel" por el caso de transporte transfronterizo).

La adopción o no de represalias se verá afectada sin duda por el contexto de una renegociación del Tratado de Libre Comercio de América del Norte, y por otra parte la duración de la medida podría verse afectada por los resultados del procedimiento arbitral iniciado por Estados Unidos, conforme al artículo 21.5 del Entendimiento de Solución de Diferencias de la OMC, en el que se revisa si las últimas modificaciones al sistema de etiquetado Dolphin Safe realizadas por ese país en marzo del 2016 cumplen con las reglas de la OMC. Procedimiento que podría concluir a principios del 2018, y con el cual se confirmaría si EEUU ha cumplido o si se mantienen las medidas represalia autorizadas a México.

No hay criterios preestablecidos para la selección de bienes que estarán sujetos a represalias. Sin embargo, el gobierno mexicano será sensible al aumento de los aranceles sobre productos que incrementarían los precios en México (vgr. materias primas de insumos), en tanto que aquellos productos que son extremadamente competitivos y han desplazado la producción mexicana (vgr. manzanas) serán candidatos probables. Además, parece haber un patrón en el que los bienes seleccionados para represalia incluyen productos de los Estados de donde son los miembros del Congreso que apoyan las medidas violatorias de la OMC (en este caso el etiquetado Dolphin Safe), o productos de sectores que tienen suficiente poder de cabildeo en los EE.UU. para presionar a fin de que se cumpla con la decisión de la OMC y se eliminen los aranceles incrementados. De existir mercancías que caen en una de estas categorías de "probable a ser objeto de represalia", sugerimos actuar prontamente ante el gobierno mexicano para tratar de evitar los aranceles de represalia.

El grupo de comercio internacional de Holland & Knight dará seguimiento a las posibles medidas de represalias que pudiera adoptar el gobierno de México, así como al cumplimiento de Estados Unidos con las reglas de la OMC, a fin de brindar asesoría a los sectores productivos interesados en este tema o en disputas ante la OMC.


Notes

1 Las consultas de esta disputa se solicitaron el 24 de octubre de 2008 (sin tomar en cuenta la disputa de atún que se ventiló en tiempos del Acuerdo General sobre Aranceles Aduaneros y Comercio)

2 Modificado en 2006

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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