The World Trade Organization’s (WTO’s) Appellate Body has affirmed an April 2015 ruling that U.S. tuna regulations discriminate against Mexico by requiring “dolphin-safe” labels reflecting the methods used to catch the fish that protect against capture of the mammal. In response to the appellate ruling, the United States criticized the decision as focusing on points that Mexico had not challenged and were merely “hypothetical” and an “academic exercise.”

“Panels and the Appellate Body should not make their conception of the ‘perfect’ measure the enemy of all the possible good ones,” according to the U.S. statement provided during the meeting of the WTO Dispute Settlement Body on December 3, 2015. “In pursuing legitimate objectives, Members should not be held to the impossible standard of designing and applying a measure that corresponds exactly to the one that a panel or the Appellate Body would have designed to achieve the legitimate objective at issue. Regulators design measures to address facts, risks, and situations actually presented, not premises and hypothetical scenarios.”