DG Okonjo-Iweala said: “I am delighted that the Philippines has formally accepted the Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies at MC13. Doing so at the very beginning of our Fish Working Session at MC13 this morning set a positive tone for the rest of the meeting.  This action demonstrates a strong endorsement of the WTO by the Philippines, as well as its dedication to preserving our oceans for the people who rely on them for livelihood and food security, and for fostering global cooperation in our shared aspiration for sustainability.”

Secretary Tiu Laurel said: “The Philippines is pleased to announce, that having completed the domestic process, we have successfully ratified the first WTO Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies on the occasion of the 13th Ministerial Conference in this vibrant city of Abu Dhabi. This is a significant milestone in our continuing effort to show our country's commitment to address the global concern over illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, and the conservation and sustainable use of our oceans. As the first WTO Fisheries Subsidies Agreement enters into force, this will usher in a new era of cooperation and collaboration among nations. We dedicate this milestone to the Filipino people, the country's fisheries and aquatic resources, and most importantly the communities that stand to benefit from the WTO Agreement. Finally, we fervently hope the rest of the WTO membership will be inspired to complete their own domestic ratification processes for the Agreement to enter into force in the soonest time possible.”

The Philippines' instrument of acceptance brings the total number of WTO members that have formally accepted the Agreement to 70. Forty more formal acceptances are needed for the Agreement to come into effect. The Agreement will enter into force upon acceptance of its legal instrument by two-thirds of the membership.

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.




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