NEGOTIATIONS ON FISHERIES SUBSIDIES

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Members considered proposals on whether and how to address subsidies to artisanal or low-income fishing in the subsidies disciplines, including based on geographical area and/or certain characteristics. They also discussed options for reflecting sustainability in the draft disciplines on subsidies that contribute to overcapacity and overfishing as well as the kinds of information that members should notify relating to the operation of the fisheries subsidies disciplines.

The chair of the negotiations, Ambassador Santiago Wills of Colombia, reported to heads of delegation at the close of the week that while meeting in different configurations had seen useful engagement and some new ideas, progress had been limited. Several members echoed the chair's assessment. A number also remarked that the week had provided an improved understanding of members' varying views.

Some members asked the chair to provide more details on how negotiating work would be taken forward. The chair said he would reflect on the recent discussions and on how to structure the next steps in the negotiations, given the target to conclude negotiations as soon as possible this year. The chair also indicated that Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is reflecting on how best she can support the negotiations.

The next cluster of fisheries subsidies meetings will be held during the week of 12 April.

Under the mandate from the WTO's 11th Ministerial Conference and the UN Sustainable Development Goal Target 14.6, negotiators have been given the task of securing agreement on disciplines to eliminate subsidies for illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and to prohibit certain forms of fisheries subsidies that contribute to overcapacity and overfishing, with special and differential treatment being an integral part of the negotiations.

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