Speakers agreed on the crucial importance of reaching an agreement on fisheries subsidies at the 12th WTO Ministerial Conference, to be held in Geneva from 30 November to 3 December. An agreement on this issue would also help to underline the role played by the multilateral trading system in addressing global problems that can only be tackled through international cooperation.

The panel was moderated by Alice Tipping, Lead on Sustainable Trade and Fisheries Subsidies at the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), who gave an overview of fisheries subsidies and their importance for economic development in Latin America.

Speakers included Andrés Cisneros-Montemayor, Deputy Director of the Nippon Foundation Ocean Nexus Program, who addressed the problem of fisheries subsidies and the possible impact of new rules in Latin America. Ernesto Godelman, Director of the Centro Desarrollo y Pesca Sustentable (CeDePesca), focused on the significant challenge that subsidies, both domestic and those given to distant water fleets, pose to the region's fishing industry.  

Ernesto Fernández Monge, Officer at Pew Charitable Trusts, spoke on the dynamics of the fisheries subsidies negotiations at the WTO, and Roberto Zapata, Senior Partner at Ansley International Consultants and former Mexican Ambassador to the WTO, discussed how fisheries subsidies relate to some of the big policy issues at the WTO.

A key challenge addressed in the discussion was designing a balance of rights and obligations, as well as special and differential treatment, which concerns more than a hundred Members with very different states of development, including Members leading the global fisheries catch.

Participants also agreed on the complexity of some negotiations that exemplify a number of challenges in the current practice of economic and environmental diplomacy, including the interaction of international regimes and coalitions of Members at the multilateral level.

The panel was organized by the Institute for Training and Technical Cooperation (ITTC), established to coordinate WTO-related technical assistance and training.

A recording of the event is available here.

Learn more about the fisheries subsidies negotiations here.




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