Agreement to finalize negotiations as soon as possible — MercoPress
WTO Fisheries Committee to end subsidies: agreement to finalize negotiations as soon as possible
The World Trade Organization committee to eliminate subsidies for illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and to ban certain forms of fishing subsidies to prevent overcapacity and overfishing, has agreed to continue its work and to conclude the negotiations as soon as possible,
The chair of the fisheries subsidies negotiations, Ambassador Santiago Wills of Colombia, reported on February 15 on the consultations he has held with WTO members since the beginning of the year on the way to follow for discussions.
The Chairman told the Negotiating Group on Rules that he had met with delegations and groups bilaterally and in different formats broadly representative of the membership as a whole. “From these various consultations, I got the general feeling that members are interested in using the current period to continue to try to make progress towards the conclusion of the negotiations as soon as possible,” said the president during the informal meeting of the Group. of negotiation.
During the consultations, many delegations flagged issues in the negotiations that could benefit from further technical clarification to pave the way for final decisions by ministers, the chair said. Several members had also noted that it was important that further work not jeopardize the progress made in the negotiations.
On November 26, 2021, WTO members agreed to postpone the 12th Ministerial Conference, which was scheduled to start on November 30 and run until December 3, after an outbreak of a transmissible strain of the COVID-19 virus led several governments to impose travel restrictions that would have prevented many ministers from arriving in Geneva. Just days before the postponement, Ambassador Wills had submitted to ministers a draft agreement on fisheries subsidies based on the collective efforts of WTO members.
The Chair said that many members had noted in recent consultations that the draft agreement was the result of intensive efforts over a long period of time and that members should strive to reduce, rather than expand, the number of options in the text in order to facilitate the task of ministers. to make final decisions whenever they are able to meet again.
The Chair indicated that over the coming weeks he would convene meetings in various configurations, with a view to advancing work and narrowing differences on a range of issues.
Under the mandate of the 11th WTO Ministerial Conference held in Buenos Aires in 2017 and target 14.6 of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, negotiators were tasked with reaching an agreement on the disciplines to eliminate subsidies.