WTO takes important steps towards global trade rules for sustainable fishing
Today, the World Trade Organization (WTO) held a ministerial meeting on fisheries subsidies, which confirmed the commitment to set the course for a successful outcome on negotiations before the WTO’s Ministerial Conference starting in November 2021. While some divergences remain, the consolidated text proposed by the Chair of the negotiations, Ambassador Santiago Wills of Colombia, provides a solid basis for the final leg of the negotiations. The European Union (EU), in its Common Fisheries Policy, has long prioritised an approach that ensures that fishing is environmentally, economically and socially sustainable. This has been the result of a deep reform process, phasing out harmful subsidies in favour of positive subsidies that promote sustainable fishing and strengthening systems to manage fishing activities. Based on this positive experience, the EU also advocates that WTO rules must be based on sustainability. Executive Vice-President and Commissioner for Trade Valdis Dombrovskis, in his remarks to his counterparts across the world, said: “Protecting global fisheries resources is a shared responsibility and, as such, achieving a multilateral outcome is the only way to address the issue of harmful subsidies. We welcome Director-General Okonjo-Iweala’s commitment to reaching an agreement ahead of the 12th Ministerial Conference and we are fully committed to this objective. The mandate laid out in UN Sustainable Development Goal 14.6 must remain our guide in these negotiations.” More information is available here.