NEGOTIATIONS ON FISHERIES SUBSIDIES
As outlined in the agreed work programme, the four-day cluster of meetings started with a technical session where members presented information on their respective fisheries support programs. Members also held a thematic discussion focused on issues related to establishing disciplines on subsidies that enhance and/or maintain fishing capacity and subsidies that contribute to overcapacity and overfishing. Special and differential treatment for developing members and least developed country (LDC) members as it relates to these issues also was taken up. In addition, time was allotted during the cluster for bilateral meetings among members.
Members on the last day worked on streamlining various proposals related to the scope of proposed disciplines, including types of measures and of subsidized activities that would be covered by disciplines, geographical aspects, and certain measures proposed for exclusion. The latest version of the document containing the texts that have been streamlined, including those prepared in the run up to the 11th Ministerial Conference (MC11) held last December in Buenos Aires, is available here.
The chair of the Negotiating Group, Ambassador Roberto Zapata Barradas (Mexico), closing the meeting, said: "I believe that discussions have been productive, both in increasing the understanding of some issues and in identifying areas where further clarification continues to be needed, as well as in advancing our ongoing streamlining work."
In accordance with the work programme, the next cluster of meetings will be on 11-14 June, to discuss issues related to subsidies to fishing of overfished stocks, along with streamlining of text on definitions.
The work programme provides for multi-day meeting clusters, each organized around a theme, in May, June and July.
In the MC11 Ministerial Decision on Fisheries Subsidies, members agreed to continue to engage constructively in fisheries subsidies negotiations with a view to adopting an agreement by the next Ministerial Conference in 2019 on comprehensive and effective disciplines that prohibit certain forms of fisheries subsidies that contribute to overcapacity and overfishing, and eliminate subsidies that contribute to illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing. Members also recognized that appropriate and effective special and differential treatment for developing country members and least developed country members should be an integral part of these negotiations. The ministerial decision is available here.