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USMCA: loggerhead sea turtle, right whale and vaquita cases

The cases of the loggerhead sea turtle, right whale and vaquita are being processed in the framework of the Treaty between Mexico, the United States and Canada (USMCA).

In June 2022, a group of Mexican NGOs filed a public brief with the Secretariat of the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) stating that Mexico is not effectively enforcing environmental laws intended to protect the Playa Hermosa coastal ecosystem, which is located in the municipality of Ensenada, in the state of Baja California.

On July 1, 2022, the CEC Secretariat determined that the Submission on Enforcement Matters (SEM) merits a response from Mexico.

According to the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), a response from Mexico is expected in September 2022.

Another CEC public submission was filed by Oceana, asserting that the United States is not effectively enforcing its environmental laws to adequately protect the critically endangered North Atlantic right whale (NARW).

At the request of the CEC Secretariat, the U.S. government submitted a response to the claims made in the submission.

On June 13, 2022, the CEC Secretariat issued a resolution recommending that the CEC Council approve the development of a factual record.

USMCA

The USMCA Interagency Environmental Committee for Monitoring and Enforcement (IECME) continues to gather and analyze information related to the issues raised in the submissions, including whether there is sufficient evidence to support a claim that Mexico or Canada is in breach of its environmental obligations under Chapter 24 of the USMCA.

In addition, IECME continues to monitor the loggerhead sea turtle submission (SEM 20-001), filed last year, as it moves forward in the CEC-SEM process.

In addition to providing the public with the opportunity to submit information directly to the IECME, USTR provides quarterly updates on USMCA implementation to its authorized advisors through the Trade and Environmental Policy Advisory Committee.

Since July 1, 2021, several public submissions have been filed. The first public brief was filed with the CEC by four non-governmental organizations (NGOs) asserting that Mexico is not effectively enforcing its environmental laws and, as a result, has caused the near extinction of the critically endangered vaquita porpoise, which is endemic to the waters of the Upper Gulf of California in Mexico.

On April 1, 2022, the CEC Secretariat issued a determination recommending that the CEC Council approve the development of a factual record.

 

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