India considers the WTO draft text on fisheries “weak” and favorable for rich countries

The World Trade Organization (WTO) draft text to ban subsidies that facilitate overfishing is weak, unbalanced and, above all, beneficial for rich countries, a high-ranking official from the Indian Ministry of Commerce told the AFP news agency.

The revised draft text, presented on November 8th, aimed at banning subsidies that contribute to overcapacity and overfishing and eliminating subsidies that encourage illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, is due during the Ministerial Conference from November 30th to December 3rd to be discussed in Geneva, Switzerland.

«It doesn’t change anything for the big fishing nations. It is weak, unbalanced, and favored advanced fishing countriesThe head of the Indian Ministry of Commerce told AFP on Friday on condition of anonymity. New Delhi supported the idea of ​​a WTO pact on fisheries subsidies, he added, recalling that the ongoing discussions still need to address issues affecting developing countries like “India”.

Global fisheries subsidies of $ 14 billion to $ 54 billion a year

The Indian government had warned this year that it wanted “the big donors“such as the United States, Japan, South Korea, China and the European Union,”take on more responsibility by reducing their subsidies and fishing capacity». «Any agreement must recognize that countries are at different stages of development and that current fisheries agreements reflect their current economic performance.Indian Trade Minister Piyush Goyal emphasized fisheries subsidies at a WTO meeting last July.

The WTO discussions on fisheries have been going on for two decades. According to the WTO, global fisheries subsidies are between 14 and 54 billion US dollars per year. The head of the organization Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, who took office in March, has made reaching a fisheries agreement a priority by the end of the year.

«The eyes of the world are really on usShe said when the President of Fisheries Negotiations, Colombian Ambassador Santiago Wills, presented the new draft on Monday. This text should then be discussed, article by article, by members of the WTO in the hope of having a consolidated version before the ministerial meeting.