PH, 33 other WTO member-countries push ratification of fisheries deal

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PH, 33 other WTO member-countries push ratification of fisheries deal
  • The Philippines and 33 other member-countries of the World Trade Organization are pushing the agency to ratify the historic fisheries agreement
  • This agreement aims to curb harmful subsidies that contribute to illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing
  • The Philippines and other members, including China and the US, vowed support for the WTO Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies
  • They said they look forward to the implementation of the agreement “as soon as possible this year”
  • The agreement, adopted at the 12th Ministerial Conference in June 2022, prohibits such subsidies, which have been a significant factor in the depletion of global fish stocks

The Philippines and 33 other members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) are pushing for the ratification of the fisheries deal aimed at reducing harmful subsidies that lead to illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUUF).

In a joint communication, WTO members, including China and the United States, vowed support for the entry into force of the WTO Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies.

They said they look forward to the implementation of the agreement “as soon as possible this year.”

The agreement, adopted at the 12th Ministerial Conference in June 2022, prohibits such subsidies, which have been a significant factor in the depletion of global fish stocks.

The Philippines became the 70th WTO member to ratify the agreement during the 13th Ministerial Conference (MC13) in Abu Dhabi. It deposited its instrument of acceptance of the historic agreement for ocean sustainability last February.

READ: PH accepts WTO fisheries subsidies agreement

Around 40 more member-countries need to formally consent since at least two-thirds of the 164-strong WTO membership is required for the agreement to come into effect.

The WTO member-signatories to the communication indicated that they also look forward to the operationalization of the multilateral body’s Fisheries Funding Mechanism once the agreement enters into force.

The Philippines supported the creation of the funding mechanism, arguing that it is essential in beefing up its capacities to manage its fisheries resources. It seeks to provide targeted technical assistance and capacity building to help developing and least-developed countries implement the fisheries subsidies agreement.

“We also affirm our support for conclusion of the negotiations on additional provisions relating to overcapacity and overfishing in July ahead of the European summer break, building on the significant progress made by Members at the 13th Ministerial Conference (MC13) in Abu Dhabi,” the joint communication read.

The WTO members said advancing the fisheries agreement is in line with the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, particularly Target 14.6, which seeks to prohibit harmful subsidies that result in overcapacity and overfishing as well as IUUF.

The deal represents a historic achievement for the WTO membership as the first Sustainable Development Goal target to be fully met, the first SDG target met through a multilateral agreement, the first WTO agreement to focus on the environment, the first broad, binding, multilateral agreement on ocean sustainability, and only the second agreement reached at the WTO since its inception.