WTO wants implementation of subsidies deal within one year
The head of the World Trade Organization has asked member-states not to delay in implementing the recent WTO agreement limiting harmful fishery subsidies.
WTO Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said she wants members to urgently implement the deal within one year in order to protect ocean health.
“The two to three years we normally have for these agreements to enter into force- - we are trying to break that record and have it done in under a year,” Okonjo-Iweala said at a conference to examine implantation of the agreement.
Developing and least-developed member-states of the WTO will need “time, effort, and money” to implement the deal, according to Okonjo-Iweala. The agreement provides an extra two years to these states to comply with some of the rules in the form of what the WTO terms “dispute settlement peace clauses.” The agreement also provides for a EUR 10 million (USD 10.2 million) WTO fund to pay for technical assistance and capacity building for poorer states. The fund will be operated by the WTO along with partner organizations, including the FAO, the World Bank, and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).
A new report published by the WTO, “Implementing the WTO Agreement on fisheries subsidies: challenges and opportunities for developing and least-developed country members,” suggests that less than USD 4 billion (EUR 3.9 billion) was spent between 2010 and 2020 on aid projects promoting sustainability in fisheries – a sum that pales next to the estimated USD 22 billion (EUR 21.8 billion) per year the WTO estimates is spent on subsidies paid out by governments that are harmful to the sustainability of fish stocks.
Photo courtesy of World Trade Organization