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Members start September-December fisheries subsidies talks under intensified work programme

Today, Heads of WTO member delegations, at the meeting of the Negotiating Group on Rules, voiced their strong commitment to creative, constructive engagement in the fisheries subsidies negotiations based on the intensified work programme for September to December that was agreed in late July.

The chair of the Negotiating Group, Ambassador Roberto Zapata Barradas (Mexico), convened the meeting to brief the heads of delegations about developments in the negotiations and to seek their continued support for the talks in the coming months. The chair noted there were indications of strong support in every intervention made at the meeting.

The agreed work programme includes brainstorming for solutions in “incubator groups”, text-based discussions, bilateral meetings, technical sessions for sharing information, and continued work to streamline the negotiating documents.

In the Ministerial Decision on Fisheries Subsidies taken at the Ministerial Conference in Buenos Aires in December 2017, members agreed to continue to engage constructively in fisheries subsidies negotiations, with a view to adopting an agreement by the next Ministerial Conference in 2020 on comprehensive and effective disciplines that prohibit certain forms of fisheries subsidies that contribute to overcapacity and overfishing, and eliminate subsidies that contribute to illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing. Members also recognized that appropriate and effective special and differential treatment for developing country members and least developed country members should be an integral part of these negotiations.