The issue of fishing subsidies in the World Trade Organization (WTO)

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The issue of fishing subsidies in the World Trade Organization (WTO)

Recently, India will oppose the immediate abolition of fishery subsidy in the World Trade Organization (WTO). WTO members are seeking to reach an agreement to ban “harmful” fisheries subsidies that cause overfishing and depletion of fish stocks around the world.

  • The first talks in this regard were initiated in the year 2001 at the Doha Ministerial Conference.
  • To reduce global fisheries subsidies, a WTO draft text has proposed a time-bound waiver for subsidies for near-coast fisheries by developing and underdeveloped countries.
  • Developed countries claim that fisheries subsidies cause serious distortions in global fisheries markets. At the same time, they also believe that it is a major factor contributing to overfishing and overcapacity and shortage of fish.

India’s concern:

  • Weakening of Special and Differential Treatment (S&DT) rights of developing countries.
  • Eliminating the subsidy will reduce the means of livelihood for the low income and resource-less fishermen. At the same time, it will limit the food security of the country.
  • The sovereign rights of coastal countries to explore, exploit and manage living resources within their maritime jurisdiction (implied in international federations etc.) should be protected. It should not be subject to the WTO dispute settlement mechanism.
  • Any agreement must recognize that different countries are at different stages of development and the current fishing regime must reflect this.

Special and Differential Treatment (S&DT)

S&DTs provide flexibility to developing countries in a number of ways, such as longer term to implement agreements and commitments, low levels of commitment, measures to increase business opportunities, etc.

Source – The Hindu

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