WTO: Special and Differential Treatment for Developing Countries (SD&T)

I copy hereunder the questions that the Chair of the WTO's Negotiating Group on Rules, Ambassador Guillermo Valles Galmes of Uruguay, did put to Delegations on whether developing countries should be exempted from new rules (especially prohibitions) on fisheries subsidies.

The questions are part of the very long questionnaire (titled “FISHERIES SUBSIDIES – ROADMAP FOR DISCUSSIONS) that Mr Valles submitted to WTO Members on 19 December 2008, together with the new negotiating texts on anti-dumping and horizontal subsidies disciplines. The WTO reference (or "symbol") is TN/RL/W/236:

15. Participants are asked to reflect in detail on the following questions:

(a) Do participants support an essentially full carve-out from the disciplines for LDCs?

(b) For developing Members other than LDCs, is it appropriate and consistent with the mandate that S&D exceptions be broadest and subject to the fewest conditions for subsidies to the smallest-scale, closest to shore, and least commercial fishing operations, with exceptions becoming progressively narrower and subject to more conditions as the subsidized operations become larger-scale, further from shore, and more commercial?
  • (i) If so, how could such different types, scales and/or geographic areas of operations be defined and differentiated?
  • (ii) How would the resulting categories relate to the mandate to discipline subsidies that contribute to overcapacity or overfishing?
  • (iii) What types of conditionalities would apply, to which categories?
(c) Are there other bases on which fisheries operations of developing Members could be categorized for the purpose of S&D exceptions, which would provide the necessary flexibility to developing Members without contributing to overcapacity or overfishing?

(d) If no other dividing lines among types, scales and/or geographic areas of operations can be identified, would all non-LDC developing Members receive the same S&D treatment in respect of their fisheries subsidies to all types, scales and geographic areas of fisheries operations?
  • (i) In such a situation, what should the exceptions be, and to what conditions should they be subject?
  • (ii) If all non-LDC developing Members were fully exempted from eventual prohibitions on, for example, subsidies for vessel construction/modification, and operating costs, how could it be ensured that such subsidies would not contribute to overcapacity or overfishing?
  • (iii) On what other basis could S&D treatment be structured?
(e) Should some or all exemptions for developing Members be conditional on fisheries management?
  • (i) If so, which exemptions should be subject to such conditionality?
  • (ii) What sort of fisheries management conditionalities should these be and how could their effectiveness at preventing overcapacity and overfishing be ensured? Would self-certification that management was effective be sufficient?
(f) If S&D exceptions were not conditioned on fisheries management, what other conditions should there be, if any, and how would those operate to prevent the subsidies from contributing to overcapacity or overfishing?

(g) What is the appropriate role for technical assistance for developing Members to implement new disciplines?
  • (i) How can effective technical assistance for the implementation of management conditionalities be ensured while not indirectly making more resources available to subsidize?
  • (ii) How can developing Members' needs and donor Member's capabilities be reconciled in a way that contributes most efficiently to fulfilling the mandate?

Comments and/or answers to the above questions are very much welcome !!

Here is the official WTO announcement of the release of the Chair's document:


And here is the link to an article on the ICTSD's website commenting the "Roadmap":


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