"I want to thank all the delegations for entrusting me with the responsibility for chairing this group. I look forward to working with you all and with the Secretariat to reach a substantial outcome in this task we face," the chair said. "As you know, with the Ministerial Declaration on fisheries subsidies, we have a great deal of work ahead and the world has high expectations for us."
At the 11th Ministerial Conference held in Buenos Aires last December 2017, 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 on fisheries subsidies is available here.
The chair said he is immediately holding consultations with interested delegations to hear their views on how to organize work on fisheries subsidies for the coming months as well as views on any other issues. He also intends to hold a meeting of the negotiating group on 11 April with the aim of agreeing on the timing and agenda of the fisheries subsidies negotiations over the coming months.
Ambassador Zapata Barradas replaces the negotiating group's former chair, Ambassador Wayne McCook (Jamaica). On 7 March, the General Council had noted the consensus on a slate of names of chairpersons for WTO bodies.