Aquaculture for all

Fisheries Included In WTO Doha Round

Economics Politics

GLOBAL - For the first time in the history of the multi-lateral trading system, fisheries figure prominently in the first negotiating round of the World Trade Organization (WTO), started in 2001.

Indeed, after several years of discussion in various international fora, particularly in the FAO, but also in the GATT/WTO and other bodies, of the increasingly deteriorating conditions of fish stocks, WTO members agreed to include fisheries in the new negotiating agenda decided upon in Doha in late 2001.

The mandate was initially "to clarify and improve WTO rules that apply to fisheries subsidies" . A few years later, the negotiating mandate was enlarged somewhat as the Declaration at the 2005 Hong Kong ministerial meeting recalled Members' commitment at Doha to enhance "the mutual supportiveness of trade and environment", noting "that there is broad agreement that the Group should strengthen disciplines on subsidies in the fisheries sector, including through the prohibition of certain forms of fisheries subsidies that contribute to overcapacity and over-fishing."

The Declaration further "called on Participants promptly to undertake further detailed work to, inter alia, establish the nature and extent of those disciplines, including transparency and enforceability. Appropriate and effective special and differential treatment for developing and least-developed Members should be an integral part of the fisheries subsidies negotiations, taking into account the importance of this sector to development priorities, poverty reduction, and livelihood and food security concerns."

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