WTO: position of INDIA at the ongoing negotiations on fisheries subsidies. Comments by Oceana

When reading the piece of news on India's subsidy programme for tuna fisheries I remembered that India, supported by China and Indonesia has pressed very hard for far reaching exceptions to subsidy disciplines at the ongoing WTO negotiations on fisheries subsidies.

I quote here an article by the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD) published on 25 July 2008, while the (failed) WTO Mini-Ministerial meeeting was in progress.

Proposal by China, India and Indonesia

The latest proposal on fisheries subsidies was tabled on 21 July by China, India and Indonesia during the ongoing ministerial meeting in Geneva (TN/C/W/51). Trade ministers are currently convened in an attempt to reach a compromise in WTO negotiations on agriculture and non-agricultural market goods (see related story, this issue). While fisheries subsidies are not on the ministerial agenda, they are considered to be an important facet of the Doha development round.

The proposal emphasises the importance of special and differential treatment for developing countries given the particular importance of fisheries for livelihoods, poverty reduction and food security. More specifically, China, India and Indonesia call for exemptions from subsidies disciplines for developing country small and artisanal fishermen, as well as fisheries infrastructure and capital and operating costs.

The sponsors of this recent submission tabled the last proposal discussed in the fisheries negotiations. Much of the substance of the new proposal was covered in discussion on their previous proposal. For this reason, sources have commented that it is unclear when the opportunity to talk about the recent paper will arise or what value it will add to negotiations.While Courtney Sakai, campaigner for environmental group Oceana, called the tabling at the ministerial “misplaced,” others assume that the intent of the sponsors was to raise the profile of the capacity constraints and particular vulnerabilities of developing countries in the fisheries subsidies negotiations.

The aforementioned article by ICTSD can be found here:


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