Thank you, Ambassador Gunnarsson. Good afternoon, Excellencies and colleagues. I share the Chair's assessment that your interventions this week have meaningfully advanced our work and have brought us closer to delving into text-based discussions. Your commitment to this process was quite apparent in your detailed interventions addressing the Chair's questions. The constructiveness and engagement that we have witnessed in the two fish weeks so far have kept us on course to fulfil the mandate that the Ministers provided at MC12.

I thank you for expressing concrete ideas regarding what you consider to be the best approach to frame the disciplines on overcapacity and overfishing. What made this fish week particularly interesting and encouraging was to see many of you coming forth with novel proposals to bridge the differences that currently exist. Your openness to reviewing more closely all ideas raised this week is yet another sign of healthy engagement and a willingness to understand each other.    

I endorse the Chair's call for Members who wish to propose approaches significantly different from what we currently have on the table to put them forward quickly. This is the only way to ensure that Members have enough time to consider alternative approaches.   

I also applaud your efforts to engage with other delegations outside the small group and plenaries held during fish weeks. These efforts make the fish weeks more vibrant and help create and sustain the momentum that we need to conclude our work within the available time.

Thank you for your energetic efforts this week. All time spent engaging on each other's positions is ultimately time spent on efforts to conserve our marine resources. We are counting on you to keep up your solution-oriented approaches in the run-up to our next meeting in June.

The Chair outlined what the fall work programme could look like. It will be an intense period, but necessary if we are to conclude by December. From the side of the Secretariat, we will do our utmost to facilitate this work while at the same time trying to avoid major meeting clashes. As you know, we are not the only show in town here at the WTO. This is the one instance where there are in fact many other fish in the sea. This is why dedicated fish weeks are a great tool to focus attention, but we should also be ready to work outside those weeks, as needed. 

Those are my few comments and I look forward to hearing your views this afternoon.

Thank you, Ambassador Gunnarsson.




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