NEGOTIATIONS ON FISHERIES SUBSIDIES
DG Okonjo-Iweala said: “I extend my warm appreciation to Macao, China for formally accepting the Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies. Macao, China's support for curbing harmful subsidies in the fisheries sector underscores its dedication to preserving our oceans and marine life, crucial for global food security and environmental stability.”
Ms Abrantes Dos Santos said: “The Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies is the first WTO agreement aiming at achieving environmentally sustainable development goals. It demonstrated members' collective work to deliver new multilateral rules targeting harmful subsidies. Macao, China has been a strong supporter of the multilateral trading system. Today, I am very pleased to deposit Macao, China's instrument of acceptance for the Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies. Macao, China looks forward to having a meaningful outcome in the second phase of negotiations. It is our collective effort to contribute to the sustainability of the oceans.”
Macao, China's instrument of acceptance brings the total number of WTO members that have formally accepted the Agreement to 44. With acceptances from two-thirds of the WTO membership needed for the Agreement to come into effect, this now means that 40% of that goal has been reached.
Adopted by consensus at the WTO's 12th Ministerial Conference (MC12), held in Geneva on 12-17 June 2022, the Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies sets new, binding, multilateral rules to curb harmful subsidies, which are a key factor in the widespread depletion of the world's fish stocks. In addition, the Agreement recognizes the needs of developing and least-developed countries and establishes a fund to provide technical assistance and capacity building to help them implement the obligations.
The Agreement prohibits support for illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, bans support for fishing overfished stocks and ends subsidies for fishing on the unregulated high seas.
Members also agreed at MC12 to continue negotiations on outstanding issues, with a view to making recommendations by MC13, to be held in February 2024 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, for additional provisions that would further enhance the disciplines of the Agreement.
The full text of the Agreement can be accessed here. The list of members that have deposited their instruments of acceptance is available here. Information for members on how to accept the Protocol of Amendment is available here.