Amendments to Mexican Official Standard NOM 051, European Union, WTO, TBT, Mexico, Codex, Frontal Labeling, Coronavirus, COVID 19, UNCTAD

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Mexican Official Standard 051 & WTO and UNCTAD COVID 19 impact on Global Value Chains

6 Mar , 2020  

Trading Room – Newsletter on Economic News and Mexico

(Download our newsletter in PDF: Trading Room -06032020)

Mexican Official Standard – 051  & WTO

During the meeting of the Technical Barriers to Trade Committee of the WTO, held last week on 26 and 27 February, the European Union (EU) submitted a series of comments on the draft amendment Mexican Official Standard (NOM 051), on food labeling. In this regard, we highlight the following:

  • CODEX guidelines: The EU suggests adapting Mexico’s definition of dietary fiber to follow Codex’s nutrition labeling definition as well as to align the nutrients to be declared as Codex guidelines do not foresee mandatory declaration of added sugar, trans fat and dietary fiber in food labeling.
  • Substitute Product: The EU submits an alternative to replace the legend of “Substitute Product”.
  • Added Sugars: The EU requests a clarification regarding the rationale of distinguishing this concept in the nutrition facts or declaration.
  • Trans Fats: Instead of the “Excess Trans Fats” frontal warning, the EU submits an alternative measure, which is more restrictive, consisting of the establishment of a Trans Fats maximum content limit to protect public health.
  • Front Warning Labels: The EU considers that front warning labels (graphical forms or symbols) do not comply with CODEX guidelines because they will not allow the consumer to understand the complete nutritional content of the product. Instead, the label captures the attention of the consumer with respect to only one or more nutrients in high content quantity.
  • Draft CODEX Guidelines on Frontal Labeling: The EU requests Mexico to hold the implementation of any measure in this regard until there is a final outcome of these issues in CODEX.

On 28 February, Mexico circulated a statement on its draft amendment to NOM – 051. In short, Mexico stated that there is a public health crisis in terms of overweight and obesity in its territory; that, this standard aims to address this issue; that a public consultation was undertaken and concluded on 24 January, and that the responses to the comments made during the public consultations are expected to be published in the “next days”.


More information? Visit our Trade Alert or view our presentation that summarizes the amendments to Mexico’s NOM-051 (available in Spanish).


The injunction to the publication of NOM-051

Notwithstanding the foregoing, the publication of the comments and/or the final version of the amendments to NOM-051 are on “hold” because a District Judge granted a provisional injunction to CONCAMIN and CCE (two business chambers), who filed a writ of Amparo against the amendment process of NOM-051 and its imminent publication.


The provisional injunction was appealed by the Government, and a Collegiate Court will decide either to confirm or to revoke that decision.


Eventually, the same Judge will determine whether to grant or not the definitive injunction. The injunction, either provisional or definitive, does not pass the word on the constitutionality or lack thereof of the process or the standard.


Update: Coronavirus (COVID-19)

On Wednesday, UNCTAD issued a report on the impact of Coronavirus on global value chains. As of today, 20% of trade in intermediate manufactured goods comes from China, so COVID-19 will affect those countries and/or industries that are dependent on such inputs due to reduced supply. Considering a 2% reduction in China’s intermediate manufactured exported goods, UNCTAD considers that the EU, the United States, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Vietnam, Singapore, and Mexico will suffer the most the economic effects, yet unknown. The reduced supply of the said goods to Mexico may amount to 1,369 million USD, while the automotive, electrical-mechanical and machinery Mexican industries will resent the most this supply interruption.


By the way, do not forget to read our update on the effects of COVID-19 and its effects on the Chinese economy, as well as Chinese government measures.

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