‘New rules needed on harmful subsidies’


MINISTER of Foreign Affairs and External Trade, Jeremiah Manele is urging World Trade Organisation (WTO) members to establish new rules on harmful subsidies.

Speaking during the WTO fisheries negotiations last week, Manele stressed that the proposed set of rules would support global effort to eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated fishing activities (IUU), and reduce overcapacity and overfishing as well as other exploitive and destructive fishing practices.

Manele adds that the prohibition of fisheries subsidies would in turn ensure the health and resilience of oceans and the sustainability of global fish stocks.

He said African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) members key interest in any fishing agreement is to promote national economic development aspirations.

“It is in our interest to push for the exemption of access fees, the exclusion of small-scale and artisanal fisheries, and for the removal of the unduly onerous and unfair reporting obligations on developing States, among others,” Manele said.

Manele was the lead spokesperson of Pacific Ministers during the meeting.

He presented the Pacific statement and outlined their interests in the negotiations many of which are shared with the ACP group. 

These include the preservation of small-scale artisanal fishing, meaningful special and differential treatment that provides policy space to develop their fishing capacity, the importance of access fees and the exclusion of differential licensing fees.  

Minister of Trade of Fiji Faiyaz Koya, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade of Papua New Guinea Soroi Eoe and the Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Samoa Peseta Simi delivered national statements in support of the Pacific interests.

WTO fisheries negotiations is part of series of meetings leading up to the two important regional meetings this week.

The two meetings are in preparation for the WTO Ministerial Meeting that will be held on 15 July 2021 which will assess the state of play of the negotiations of the fisheries subsidies agreement and try to narrow the existing differences amongst the WTO members. 

The fisheries subsidies agreement is expected to be adopted at the WTO Twelfth Ministerial Conference (MC12) that will be held from 30 November to 3 December 2021.

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