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Shrimp Imports: Protection Of Sea Turtles

Volume 593: debated on Thursday 3 September 1998

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asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether a panel of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) has decided that the United States may not prohibit shrimp imports from countries that fail to protect sea turtles from being killed by shrimping boats; and, if so, what steps they will take to ensure that the WTO in future abides by appropriate environmental principles and rescinds this particular decision. [HL2954]

The United States prohibits the import of shrimps from countries which do not apply a regulatory programme comparable to its own for the protection of sea turtles from shrimp fishing nets. In May 1998, a WTO dispute settlement panel upheld a complaint made by India, Malaysia, Pakistan and Thailand against the United States that this prohibition was inconsistent with GATT rules. On 13 July the US lodged an appeal against this finding. Appeal proceedings should generally be completed within 60 days and always within 90 days.