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Briefing note: Negotiations on fisheries subsidies

The negotiations on fisheries subsidies were launched in 2001 as part of the Doha Round negotiating mandate in the rules area, which also includes anti-dumping, subsidies and countervailing measures, and regional trade agreements


Actualización: noviembre de 2015

ESTAS EXPLICACIONES se facilitan para ayudar al público a entender las actividades de la OMC. Si bien se ha hecho todo lo posible por que el contenido sea exacto, las explicaciones no afectan a las posiciones los gobiernos Miembros.

The elaborated negotiating mandate on fisheries subsidies contained in the 2005 Hong Kong Ministerial Declaration called for strengthened disciplines on fisheries subsidies, including the prohibition of certain forms of fisheries subsidies that contribute to overcapacity and overfishing, along with special and differential treatment provisions. The Hong Kong Ministerial Conference also mandated the Negotiating Group Chair to prepare a draft text that would serve as the basis for finalizing the negotiations. In 2007, the Chair circulated such a draft text. Subsequently, due to the absence of convergence around that text, in 2008 the Chair circulated a roadmap for discussions and finally, in April 2011, a Chair's report on the state of the negotiations. 

While the Doha Round negotiations, including on fisheries subsidies, paused in 2011, activity resumed after the Bali Ministerial Conference in December 2013. In June 2015, as part of efforts to formulate the Work Programme called for by the ministers in Bali, a group of delegations (Argentina, Iceland, New Zealand, Norway, Peru and Uruguay) put forward a paper proposing a "recalibrated outcome" on fisheries subsidies, for adoption by the Ministerial Conference.

Fisheries subsidies activity has continued this autumn during the 2015 lead-up to Nairobi, as a number of WTO members submitted proposals for fisheries subsidies outcomes in an eventual Nairobi package. These proposals have variously focused on transparency alone (Australia, EU) and on transparency plus certain disciplines and special and differential treatment (African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group, Peru). The transparency elements relate to submission of fisheries-related information in the regular subsidy notifications to the WTO, and the disciplines elements include proposed prohibitions on subsidies to illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing and to fishing in respect of overfished stocks.

All of the proponents have expressed the view that work on fisheries subsidies should continue post-Nairobi. Some members have voiced opposition to any decision on fisheries subsidies in Nairobi, and some have expressed caution about post-Nairobi activities.