NEGOTIATIONS ON FISHERIES SUBSIDIES

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Members engaged in a line-by-line reading of a compilation text circulated on 12 October. This text was based on seven earlier proposals for MC11 outcomes on fisheries subsidies, submitted by New Zealand, Iceland and Pakistan; the European Union; Indonesia; the African, Caribbean, Pacific (ACP) Group of States; a Latin American group composed of Argentina, Colombia, Costa Rica, Panama, Peru and Uruguay; the Least-Developed Countries (LDC) Group; and Norway.

During the discussion, a number of members, including China and the United States, suggested insertions and other amendments to the compilation text.

China's proposal, introduced on 1 November, focuses on subsidy disciplines related to illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, including subsidy prohibitions, special and differential treatment for developing and LDC members, and provisions for legal implications regarding territorial disputes and cooperation with certain organizations. Reactions were mixed, and a number of members said that they needed to study the proposal further and consult with their capitals.

The United States proposed text to enhance transparency regarding WTO members' fisheries subsidies. This text reflects the fisheries subsidies section of a broader US proposal circulated on 30 October that seeks to enhance members' compliance with notification requirements under many WTO agreements. The US also proposed changes to other parts of the compilation text.

A number of other WTO members suggested drafting insertions or other changes to the parts of the text addressing scope, subsidy prohibitions, special and differential treatment, transparency, and institutional arrangements.

The NGR chair, Ambassador Wayne McCook (Jamaica), welcomed the contributions to the "living document," which he said now belonged to the wider membership and not just the earlier proponents.

Members also exchanged general views on what a Buenos Aires fisheries subsidies outcome should look like. Some members called for prioritizing negotiations, in the time remaining, on areas of greatest convergence, with the remaining issues held for further work after MC11. Prohibitions on subsidies for IUU fishing and provisions for transparency were cited by a number of delegations as areas where an agreement could be delivered at Buenos Aires.

Other members urged maintaining activity on all elements for the time being, with a view to seeing where further progress could be made, for example in respect of prohibitions on subsidies contributing to overfishing and overcapacity. A number of members called for the inclusion of special and differential treatment provisions in any MC11 fisheries subsidies outcome.

The chair called for continued reflection on the level of ambition, and on how to resolve members' different capacities to meet eventual fisheries subsidies obligations.

The NGR will reconvene on 13-17 November.

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