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WTO members delay agreement on fisheries subsidies to 2021 December 17,2020   |  Source: IISD

World Trade Organization (WTO) members did not conclude negotiations on an agreement on curbing harmful fisheries subsidies by the 2020 deadline. A new schedule for meetings in 2021 is being developed, with the aim of bringing “this negotiation to the finish line.”

The WTO’s 11th Ministerial Conference (MC11) and SDG target 14.6 give negotiators the task of securing an agreement on eliminating subsidies for illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing and to prohibit certain forms of fisheries subsidies that contribute to overcapacity and overfishing by the end of 2020. In March 2020, the COVID-19 crisis resulted in the suspension of in-person meetings, and members used online meetings and written exchanges to continue negotiations. Despite their efforts and “almost daily” meetings in late November, WTO members were unable to finish negotiations at the 14 December informal meeting of the Trade Negotiations Committee.

Throughout 2020, members have negotiated on the basis of a draft consolidated text first introduced in June 2020 and then on a revised version introduced in early November 2020. The draft text addresses all the main pillars of the negotiations, including prohibitions on subsidies, a placeholder for a capping mechanism and a list of non-harmful


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Theme(s): Post Harvest Technology and Trade.

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