India opposes draft WTO text on fisheries
India has voiced its opposition to the current draft text on reducing fisheries subsidies being discussed at the WTO Ministerial Conference (M12) in Geneva, arguing that it allows indefinite overexploitation of fisheries resources by several advanced fishing nations while bringing livelihood subsidies under control. extended by developing countries to artisanal and small-scale fishers.
“I see in every way the asymmetries and discrimination of the Uruguay Round in agriculture that we seek to institutionalize in fishing today. And I urge all developing countries to be wary of such efforts,” Goyal said in his intervention on the fisheries subsidies negotiations on Tuesday.
“Essential political space”
India’s requested 25-year transition period (to reduce subsidies) is not intended as a permanent exclusion, and is a must for the country and for other non-remote water fishing nations in the same situation, he said. “We believe that without accepting the 25-year transition period, it will be impossible for us to finalize the negotiations, as political space is essential for the sustainable growth and long-term prosperity of our low-income fishers,” added The Minister.
Highlighting the big difference between subsidies given by India and advanced countries, Goyal said that New Delhi barely gives fishing families $15 a year in subsidies while many countries give subsidies of up to $42,000. dollars, $65,000 and $75,000 to a single fishing family. . “It’s the magnitude of the disparity that we’re trying to institutionalize,” he said.
Several advanced fishing nations are indiscriminately exploiting fishery resources in other countries’ exclusive economic zones (EEZs) and on the high seas by being members of several regional fisheries management organizations (RFMOs), the minister said.
“Arbitrary and unfair situation”
“India has argued in the past that these nations must take responsibility for the damage they have caused to the world’s fishing wealth and should subject them to a stricter disciplinary regime. Yet, to our dismay, the current text does not stop such overexploitation; instead, it indiscreetly allows such practices indefinitely,” he said.
For example, the draft text does not impose reduction commitments for the non-specific fuel subsidies provided by many developed countries. There are also provisions under which countries could continue to provide fisheries subsidies. “…A de-minimis based on global catches without reference to the fishery, the fishing families involved, the size of the nation, the size of the population supported is a completely arbitrary and unjust situation,” said Goyal said.
June 14, 2022