A global agreement to cut fisheries subsidies could be reached at a major WTO ministerial meeting this week, even though India has been pushing for a major exemption, officials said on Tuesday.
The 27-year-old commercial organization has not reached a major agreement among its 164 members for nine years and some observers consider the fish talks to be the best and possibly the last chance to do so.
The Geneva-based organization has been weakened by international trade disputes, COVID-19 and its crippling disputes.
Negotiators have been working on confidential meetings in recent days to come up with a final draft where only 11 areas are undecided, compared to more than 80 a year ago.
“I could not have imagined that we would go so fast a year ago. There is considerable progress and we hope we can land it, “said WTO Secretary-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala at a news conference on Tuesday.
Countries spend about $ 35.4 billion a year to support their fishing fleet worldwide, with China being the largest, according to a 2019 study.
This has led to some fish stocks collapsing and putting others at risk of collapse. Progress in recent weeks includes an agreement on how the rules apply to ships flying the flag that are not their own, the draft agreement showed.
However, India’s Trade Minister Shri Piyush Goyal said on Tuesday that a 25-year transition period was a “must-have”. “Without agreeing to the 25-year transition period, it will be impossible for us to conclude the negotiations, as policies are essential for the sustainable growth and prosperity of our low-income people in the long run,” he told WTO members.
Until recently, China has resisted efforts to curb subsidies for offshore fishing.
China did not respond to a request for comment on Tuesday.
A European Union official, a major sponsor, said the current draft text – the eighth edition distributed – represented a “landing zone”. “There are certain obstacles that could probably be removed, but because they are used as an option to negotiate and negotiate at other tables, they are still stored,” Virginijus Sinkevicius, the EU’s environment director, told Reuters.
One trade diplomat said he believed the fisheries agreement was the most likely agreement to emerge from the Geneva talks.
Other negotiations continue at the World Trade Organization on food safety and exemptions from intellectual property vaccines.
WTO members are hopeful of a major fisheries agreement despite the exemption – SABC News
Source link WTO members are hopeful of a major fisheries agreement despite the exemption – SABC News