WTO: new book on fisheries subsidies

Just a quick post before the year 2010 ends.

Here are the references for a publication on the very subject of fisheries subsidies.

Good reading!

"Fisheries Subsidies under International Law" by Chen-Ju Chen.
Edited by Springer Verlag.
Hamburg Studies on Maritime Affairs, Vol. 20 (2010) ISBN: 978-3-642-15692-2




Here is the December 2010 edition FST news program.


USA: fisheries subsidies at the latest WTO Review of US Trade Policy (4)

When reading (once more) the minutes of the Trade Policy Review meeting (WTO doc WT/TPR/M/23/Add.1) I noticed that the word fishermen appears in the answer a question put by Argentina on the Trade Adjustment Assistance programme.

Here is the question:

AGENTINA (page 7) 

Which sectors in agriculture, manufacturing, and services have benefitted and what were the amounts?

RESPONSE:  The reauthorized TAA program has not been in operation long enough to evaluate the impact of expanded eligibility and increased benefits.  The following overview provides basic information on the expanded TAA programs, including a summary of the numbers of workers and industries covered by TAA certifications.

Program Overview
The Trade Adjustment Assistance for Workers, Alternative Trade Adjustment Assistance (ATAA), and Reemployment Trade Adjustment Assistance (RTAA) programs are authorized under the Trade Act of 1974, as amended.  These programs are collectively referred to as TAA, and provide assistance to workers who have been adversely affected by foreign trade.

The ARRA reauthorized and modified the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) for Farmers program.  The TAA for Farmers program helps producers of raw agricultural commodities and fishermen [emphasis added] adjust to a changing economic environment associated with import competition through technical assistance and cash benefits.  The ARRA is administered by the United States Department of Agriculture, and the 2009 appropriation for the TAA for Farmers program was $90 million.  (More information on TAA for Farmers is available at:  http://www.fas.usda.gov/ITP/TAA/taa.asp)

This sounds like "income support" subsidies, somenthing which has been labelled as a prohibited subsidy in the 2007 draft Chair's text for a WTO agreement on fisheries  subsidies (doc TN/RL/GEN/213). 

What could shield these subsidies from such a prohibition is that the US could argue that they are non-specific, i.e. available not only to fishermen but also to workers in other sectors.


USA: fisheries subsidies at the latest WTO Review of US Trade Policy (3)

As part of the Trade Policy Review WTO Delegations can make statements. These statements are recorded in document WT/TPR/M/235 of 1 November 2010.

I found the statement by the representative of the European Union most interesting.

I copy here what he/she said:

280. We note with some surprise that the Secretariat has not given any coverage to the fisheries sector. We would like to understand the reasons for this omission, which deprives Members of valuable information, the U.S. being one of the world's major fishing nations and traders of fish products. So an explanation would be in order.
This is correct. The fisheries sector was not subject to analysis. This is in stark contrast with what happens for other WTO Members (e.g. the EU!) where the fisheries industry has been subject to a very thourough scrutiny.

USA: fisheries subsidies at the latest WTO Review of US Trade Policy (2)

Here is another question put to the US in the context of the Trade Policy Review that mentions fisheries subsidies. The question was asked by SINGAPORE and it concerned the composition of the Trade and Environment Policy Advisory Committee (TEPAC).

As you can see fish subsidies negotiations are high on the agenda of the work of this Committee.


Question 7

The U.S. in its Government’s Report (WT/TPR/G/235, Page 16, Para 61), has indicated that “members of the five policy advisory committees are appointed by USTR or in conjunction with other Cabinet officers”. The environment policy advisory committee is called the Trade and Environment Policy Advisory Committee (TEPAC) and is managed by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA).

Singapore would like to enquire on the membership composition of the TEPAC, how regularly meetings are convened and its current priority issues of interest. In addition, we would like to seek the U.S.’ clarification if classified/privileged information about the U.S.’ FTA partners is divulged to these private sector advisors.

RESPONSE: The TEPAC is comprised of senior level representatives from the business sector, environment and consumer non-governmental organizations (NGOs), academia, and think tanks. TEPAC ’s full membership can be found on USTR’s website. The TEPAC meets several times a year at a senior level and more frequently at a staff-level, where TEPAC members’ liaisons participate. TEPAC has broad interests, and most recently some of its priority areas of interest have been the WTO fish subsidies negotiations, trade and climate change, and the TPP negotiations. All TEPAC members are required to have a security clearance so that relevant classified/privileged information can be shared with them under agreed procedures.

USA: fisheries subsidies at the latest WTO Review of US Trade Policy

The tenth Trade Policy Review of the United States was held in Geneva on 29 September and 1 October 2010.

Readers may remember that wrote a post on 21/09/2008 quoting questions and answers related to fisheries issues in the context of the 2008 WTO Review of Trade Policy.

This time again a number of WTO Delegations asked questions to the US on the fisheries sector and on subsidies provided to this industry. The full report of the meeting where the questions/answers is inlcuded in WTO document WT/TPR/M/235/Add.1 of 1 November 2010.

I copy hereunder this year's questions and the answers by the US administration. 


(iv) Subsidies and other government assistance

WTO Secretariat's Report, page 64, Table III.9

Table III.9, concerning federal subsidies programmes notified to the WTO, gives the amounts relating to subsidies in the fisheries sector for fiscal years 2005-2008. The Report does not provide any information on fisheries subsidies beyond 2008.

In the framework the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) an amount of US$50 million has been earmarked to subsidise aquaculture. Baitfish growers and catfish farmers are eligible if their 2008 feed costs were at least 25 percent of their total operating cost. They also are eligible if their feed costs are 25 percent above the average cost of feed from 2003-2007.

59. Can the U.S. confirm the above information?


60. Are the products farmed by the beneficiaries competing with those products covered by anti-dumping proceedings against catfish products from Vietnam?

RESPONSE: The Farm Service Agency’s 2008 Aquaculture Grant Program will provide block grants to state Departments of Agriculture that agree to provide assistance to eligible aquaculture producers for losses associated with high feed costs during the 2008 calendar year. For more information, see http://www.fsa.usda.gov/Internet/FSA_File/fsa_recovactplans_aag052709.pdf.

61. Did the beneficiaries of the above mentioned subsidies receive funds from collected antidumping duty revenues under the Continued Dumping and Subsidy Offset Act of 2000 ("Byrd Amendment")? If so, could the U.S. provide figures on the amounts disbursed?

RESPONSE: The annual report for CDSOA payments, which lists all the disbursements and recipients in 2009, can be found at: http://www.cbp.gov/xp/cgov/trade/priority_trade/add_cvd/cont_ dump/.

62. Could the U.S. confirm the above information? If so, will the above subsidies be notified to the WTO and when?

RESPONSE: We confirm the information cited in the referenced press release. If appropriate, the measures at issue would be notified by the United States in its next WTO subsidies notification, which is due June 30, 2011.

63. Have the U.S. authorities assessed the impact of the above subsidies on existing fishery resources? If not, how will they ensure that the subsidies granted to New England fishermen do not result in overcapacity and overfishing?

RESPONSE: The new management system being implemented in the Northeast groundfish fishery is intended to reduce overcapacity and encourage ecological sustainability.

64. With regard to the amounts of US$546,000 and US$954,000, which percentage of these amount cover operational costs, such as crew, fuel, gear, insurance etc?

RESPONSE: No portion of that funding will be used for the operational costs of fishermen. The funding will be used entirely for sector management and infrastructure development.

65. Does the US$10 million subsidy package relate to a declared "commercial fisheries disaster"?

RESPONSE: The measures described by the EU do not relate to a declared “commercial fisheries disaster”.

66. If not, have the beneficiaries of the above subsidies separately benefited from commercial fisheries disaster assistance under either § 308 of the Interjurisdictional Fisheries Act, or § 312(a) of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act? If so, could the U.S. provide information on the amounts disbursed?

RESPONSE: No, the $5 million amount is being provided to the states of Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, and Maine in order to set up permit banks at the state level; it is not for individuals. Also, the funding for fishing sector managers is going to the Gulf of Maine Research Institute for sector management. The referenced beneficiaries have not separately benefited from commercial fisheries disaster assistance under either § 308 of the Interjurisdictional Fisheries Act, or § 312(a) of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act since 1999.

Ms. Jane LUBCHENCO, Undersecretary for Oceans and Atmosphere and NOAA Administrator, in her written statement, when presenting the NOAA 2011 budget request before the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce at a hearing on 3 March 2010, stated the following: "NOAA recently released a draft catch share policy to encourage the consideration and adoption of catch shares wherever appropriate in fishery management and ecosystem plans and amendments, and will support the design, implementation, and monitoring of catch share programs. Catch share programs give fishermen a stake in the benefits of well-managed fisheries, and therefore greater incentive to ensure effective management. To support NOAA’s policy, this budget includes an increase of $36.6 million, for a total request of $54 million, to establish a National Catch Share Program. This program will provide a national framework to develop, manage, and improve catch share programs in fisheries across the Nation. This increase will also continue the transition of the Northeast ground fish (multispecies) fishery to sector management as well as support new voluntary catch share programs in the Mid-Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico, and Pacific Coast regions."

67. Could the U.S. provide more information about these "catch share" programmes? Will the beneficiaries of these funds have to purchase their "catch shares" or will they get them at no cost? Can catch shares be traded among participants in the fishery? Could these catch shares be used as collateral when entering into credit arrangements with lenders (e.g. banks)?

RESPONSE: The shares are determined based on the catch history of participants in that fishery. The shares are not free, are not owned by the participants, and cannot be used as collateral.

68. Could the U.S. elaborate on the use of the requested funds (US$54 million) for "…the transition of the Northeast ground fish (multispecies) fishery to sector management…"?

RESPONSE: The $54 million was requested by NOAA for development and implementation of catch share programs on a national scale. A portion of that funding will support the development, implementation and management of the Northeast groundfish fishery. Other fisheries around the nation will use the funding to develop and manage their own catch share programs. These actions will promote ecological sustainability. This is a request to Congress, which has not yet been acted upon.

On 24 May 2010 Commerce Secretary Gary Locke announced a "Fishery Failure Determination" in Gulf of Mexico under Section 312(a) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act. According to the press release, Secretary Locke stated that “Commercial and recreational fishing provides vital jobs to the region and is essential to the Gulf Coast’s unique culture and heritage.” With regard to the assistance requested under this "Fisheries Failure", the press release mentions that "The administration has requested US$15 million of supplemental funding as a backstop to address this disaster, as well as US$5 million of economic development assistance through the Economic Development Administration. In addition, the administration is requesting unemployment coverage for this disaster, and the Small Business Administration is offering economic injury disaster loans, which can help fishermen and other affected businesses."

69. Have the requested US$15 million of supplemental funding as a backstop to address this disaster, as well as US$5 million of economic development assistance through the Economic Development Administration, been granted?

RESPONSE: The requested $15 million and $5 million amounts in supplemental funding was appropriated on July 29, 2010, when President Obama signed H.R. 4899, the “Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2010” into law. On September 23, 2010, the Economic Development Administration published a notice of the Gulf Oil Spill Supplemental Funding Opportunity in the Federal Register (75 FR 57900). The notice describes the general policies and application procedures for the supplemental funding opportunity.

70. With regard to the unemployment coverage specifically requested for this disaster, can the U.S. provide figures about the amounts paid to the beneficiaries?

RESPONSE: The estimated benefit outlays for unemployment insurance claims that were filed due to unemployment caused by the oil spill have been approximately $1.9 million.

71. With regard to the injury disaster loans, could the U.S. provide details about the terms under which such loans are granted?

RESPONSE: Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) are working capital loans to help small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives and most private, non-profit organizations meet necessary financial obligations that cannot be met as a direct result of the oil spill disaster. The loans are limited to entities that cannot provide for their own recovery. An applicant must have an acceptable credit history, show the ability to repay the loan and provide collateral, if available. The interest rate is 4.00% for businesses and agricultural cooperatives without credit available elsewhere. The term of the loan may be up to 30 years, based on the borrower’s ability to repay. The law limits EIDLs to $2 million for alleviating economic injury caused by the disaster.

According to information published by Georgia's state authorities, a grant of US$1 million was awarded in May 2010 to assist with building improvements at the location of a manufacturing and distribution facility for Tri-Union Seafoods, LLC d.b.a. Chicken of the Sea International, under Georgia's Economic Development, Growth and Expansion Fund. The total estimated cost of the project is $21.5 million and the jobs to be created amount to 310 new jobs in four years.

72. Are the U.S. authorities aware of similar subsidies (grants) to the fish processing industry allocated to companies in this sector? If yes, could information about such subsidy programmes be provided?

RESPONSE: It should be noted that the Georgia assistance was provided under a job creation program available to all industries. For the latest information on other programs, please see the U.S. subsidies notification (G/SCM/N/186/USA).

WTO: reporting on informal negotiating meeting on fisheries subsidies (8)

It seems that the Negotiating Group on Rules met recently. This is what the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Develoment (ICTSD) is reporting in "Bridges Weekly Trade News Digest" (Volume 14,  Number 44, 22 December 2010).

According to ICTSD Delegates discussed papers from Korea (TN/RL/GEN/168), Brazil, India, China and Mexico (TN/RL/GEN/163) which I discussed in my post of 13 February 2010, and Australia (TN/RL/GEN/167).

I assume that this was an "informal" meeting as no official record has been published.

Here is the link to the ICTSD article:

MALAYSIA: fishermen should stop relaying on (fuel) subsidies.

Malaysia's Deputy Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister Johari Baharum said a few weeks ago, “All industries in Malaysia have asked for help, and we have given so many subsidies”.

Citing fishermen as an example, he said, “We give each fisherman RM200 (USD 64) a month as well as fuel subsidies and incentives."

He said this in October 2010 in the framework of the Aquafair Malaysia 2010 at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre.

Here is the link to the article.

CENTRAL AMERICA: government-to-government(s) fisheries subsidies?

My previous post was about Argentina, this one is about the Central American Region.

Here is a press release, in Spanish, about a donation by the government of Taiwan to the "Organización del Sector Pesquero y Acuícola del Istmo Centroamericano (OSPESCA)" for the "Proyecto de Apoyo al Proceso de Integración de la Pesca y la Acuicultura Centroamericana (PRIPESCA)".

The donation, USD 641,666, is part of a total of USD 4,400,000 that Taiwan will pay for the financing of the above project.

Here is the link to the webpages (in Spanish) of the OSPESCA project:

ARGENTINA : fisheries agreement with China?

From time to time I have a look at fisheries websites around the world.

Recently I found a number of websites in Argentina that are commenting on the effective implementation by Argentina and China of a “Acuerdo de Cooperación sobre Pesca”.

I was struck by the fact that China would be offering cuts in import duties for products from Argentina. I wonder how China will be able to grant such duty cuts only to Argentina (because of the fisheries agreement) without going against the non-discrimination principles of the WTO.

Here are a few links to articles (in Spanish) about this issue.  






USA: more subsidies, this time to shrimpers

I copy here a new release by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Texas Farm Service Agency on subsidies for U.S. shrimpers in the Gulf og Mexico region.

Deadline to apply for Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) for Shrimp - Dec. 23, 2010

(COLLEGE STATION, TX), December 16, 2010 - Juan M. Garcia, Executive Director of USDA's Texas Farm Service Agency (FSA) reminds producers of the December 23, 2010 deadline to apply for the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program for 2008 shrimp.

Shrimp assistance is approved for Alabama, Alaska, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Texas.

"TAA provides technical training and financial benefits to eligible producers whose commodity, in this case shrimp, has been adversely impacted by foreign competition," said Garcia. "After the Dec. 23 deadline, no applications will be accepted as there are no late file provisions for TAA."

FSA County Offices will accept applications for 2008 shrimp through December 23, 2010. The application form is available at FSA offices or at: http://www.fas.usda.gov/itp/taa/taaforms.asp.

For eligibility and application details, contact your local FSA office. Information is also available on the Foreign Agricultural Service Web site at www.fas.usda.gov/itp/taa.
 Note that the aid programme mentioned in the news release predates the "Deepwater Horizon" oil spill disaster. Also note that some shrimpres in the Gulf of Mexico could have received subsidies coming from anti-dumping duties imposed on imports of shrimp from a number of developing countries.


USA: (more) subsidies to the processing industry - tuna canneries in American Samoa

More "life-support" measures for the ailing tuna canning industry in American Samoa.

Hereunder a copy a press release by the American Samoa Government announcing President Obama's decision to delay for two years the federally mandated minimum wage increase.

Published on American Samoa Government (http://americansamoa.gov)

Home > President Obama signs H.R. 3940 to delay American Samoa minimum wage increase for two years


President Obama signs H.R. 3940 to delay American Samoa minimum wage increase for two years
Created 09/30/2010 - 15:41
Submitted by Newsroom on Thu, 09/30/2010 - 15:41
(UTULEI: Thursday, September 30, 2010) –Governor Togiola Tulafono today expressed his sincere gratitude to President Barack Obama for signing legislation that will delay the minimum wage increase scheduled to take effect in American Samoa for 2010 and 2011.

Governor Togiola said the delay in minimum wage hike, through H.R. 3940, is a much-needed blessing for the Territory.

“We have truly been spared another disaster and this hold on the minimum wage increase, even if it’s for only two years, will allow us time to work with this very important issue,” said Governor Togiola. “I am very grateful to President Obama for his favorable consideration and expeditious action. When I received the great news this afternoon, I breathed a huge sigh of relief, and thanked God for His direction and help. The minimum wage issue has made it impossible to attract investments because of the uncertainty it has created. I truly welcome this two-year suspension, but it is not the ultimate solution we need.”

Governor Togiola said there are so many hardworking and caring people to thank for the wonderful news for American Samoa.

“It is important to give credit where it is due. I want to thank Senator Daniel Inouye of Hawaii for his continuing support of American Samoa and helping to direct our attention to issues that we can address effectively to help our own cause. I wish to also express my thanks to our Congressman Faleomavaega Eni for his role in keeping track of this situation and asking the Senate and the House memberships for this relief. I look forward to our efforts in working with him for a permanent solution to our minimum wage to propose in the future.”

Governor Togiola also thanked U.S. senators and representatives and their respective staffs for their support in the successful passage of this very important federal legislation for American Samoa.

“This great news is also giving me hope that we will be able to work with Congress, on both sides of the aisle, to forge a permanent solution to the wage issues as well as our economic development needs. If we do not have a permanent solution for this issue, it will continue to be a major set back for near future developments. We need a permanent solution that makes sense for us and will help us effect more effective economic development,” said Governor Togiola. “I wish to recognize with gratitude and appreciation the special understanding given to my plea to U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) and his staff. I have never met the senator, but the good relations that my Washington staff have with him and his staff have enabled us to appeal to him for help, and he was gracious in his response and assurances.”

Governor Togiola gave thanks to the White House staff for their support in always being helpful; and also to his attorney and staff in Washington D.C. for the great assistance and diligence in pursuing Congressional help to achieve success in this matter.

“I wish to also thank the Fono for their support and I know that our people here in American Samoa have also been praying for relief, and God has answered us favorably. We give thanks to God for His guiding hand in these endeavors,” said Governor Togiola. “We have truly been spared another disaster, so now we have a lot of work to do in the next two years to ensure that this issue is resolved in the best interest of our people and our businesses.”




Source URL:



NZ/WTO: Tim Groser on film stars and WTO fisheries subsidies negotiations

Some of the readers of this blog may remeber that on 1 February 2010 I wrote a post commenting Tim Groser’s speech in London on 8 December 2009 titled “Trade and Climate Change: A Negotiator's Perspective”.

In this speech Mr Groser, former Chair of the WTO’s negotiating group where fisheries subsidies are discussed, sets out his views on the dynamics of international negotiations. I can not resist the temptation to re-copy here some of the passages of his December 2009 speech.

"There will be film stars, vegans, people running around in polar bear suits. This is, ladies and gentlemen, international diplomacy in action. Is it likely to lead to anything useful?”
“Highly experienced and astute Secretariat officials, working closely with experienced negotiators from a number of countries, will be developing a text covering the key issues contained in the unmanageable draft legal text and on which firm political decisions are required - mitigation targets, financing in both the short and long term, capacity building and other key elements of the earlier Bali Action Plan.”
Well, Mr Groser revisited these subjects, i.e. the dynamics of international negotiations and the role of film starts, in his address to the international Food and Agriculture Trade Policy Council (IPC) Conference in Sao Paulo.

In this post I will comment Mr. Groser’s comments on the role film stars (or Hollywood) in international negotiations:
“We should be thankful for small mercies. With complete collapse staring us in the face, we salvaged at least the Copenhagen Accord. This was produced by a small group of Heads of Governments of some major countries, operating in an unplanned and one could say haphazard way.
They had no choice, and thank goodness they did take the initiative. However, it was a modest return from the investment of so much high-priced political talent - not to mention the pre-Copenhagen hype, based around the absurd negotiating scenario of ‘No Plan B'. I will leave to others to describe the contribution made by Hollywood film stars to the process. Rationality, one could say, was at a premium and we paid the price in terms of the mediocrity of the result.”
So, Mr Groser leaves to others to describe the contribution made by Hollywood film stars to the process. Thinking of what happens in the WTO fisheries subsidies negotiations I am sure that OCEANA will describe the contribution of film stars to these negotiations as very positive. They invited Ted Danson to come to Geneva (see my post of 31/10/2009 titled “WTO: fisheries subsidies and Hollywood under the same roof”) to persuade negotiators to rapidly conclude the Doha round so that an agreement could be reached in new fisheries subsidies rules.

By the way, that OCEANA values very much the role of film stars in WTO fisheries subsidies negotiations is also demonstrated by the fact that that he testified before a the US Senate Committee on Finance (Subcommittee on International Trade, Customs, and Global Competitiveness) on 14/07/2010 as OCEANA Board Member.

But Ted Danson is the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the links of OCEANA with Hollwywood. Check OCEANA’s webapges on its SeaChange Summer Parties. The list of film actors is rather long.

A final comment on Ted Danson: interestingly Ted Danson joined the “Bored to Death” comedy television series. I hope he will not be “Bored to death” because of the lack of progress in the Doha negotiations.

What is not clear to me is what Mr. Groser meant with the closing sentence in the paragraph dealing with film stars: “Rationality, one could say, was at a premium and we paid the price in terms of the mediocrity of the result.” I can not believe Mr. Groser was speaking about fisheries subsidies negotiations. My reading is that he was talking about climate change negotiations only.

This is a first delivery in my comments on Ted Groser speech. There will be other posts especially on the part of the speech about why he considers the fisheries subsides negotiations as worthwhile.

Here are two links where readers will find Tim Groser’s speech:


WTO: INDIA notifies subsidies to the WTO

In the previous post a presented questions from CANADA and the US on the subsidy notification to the WTO by Korea.

I had a look at the WTO website to see whether other WTO Members had made notification recently. India was one of these Members. The document reference is G/SCM/N/186/IND of 18 October 2010. The first paragraph of the 2 page long notification of INDIA reads as follows:

The following notification constitutes the Government of Republic of India's new notification of information on programmes granted or maintained at the central government level in India.  In general, the period to which the following information applies is for the Financial Years 2004-05, 2005-06, 2006-07, 2007-08 and 2008-09.

INDIA notifies only those subsidies "maintained at the central governement level", meaning that if subsidies are granted at state or subfederal level, these are not included in the notification.

Also interesting to note is that India is making the notification for a period covering five fiscal years. My reading of the WTO Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures, Article 25, is that WTO "Members agree that, without prejudice to the provisions of paragraph 1 of Article XVI of GATT 1994, their notifications of subsidies shall be submitted not later than 30 June of each year and shall conform to the provisions of paragraphs 2 through 6."

Finally, I was struck by the fact that India's notification concerns only one "subsidy programme", i.e. "Preferential tax policies for certain enterprises".  I found nothing in the notification concerning the "subsidy assistance programmes" maintained by India's Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA).

WTO: subsidies notifications - Republic of Korea - (the US puts questions on fish subsidies)

Here are the questions put by the US and the corresponding replies by Korea. The WTO document reference is G/SCM/Q2/KOR/37, of 15 October 2010.

Reading through the replies I was struck by the fact that Korea is planning subsidies for the construction of "long range" fishing vessels.

Question 1

According to publicly available sources, the Korea Fisheries Association said the fuel subsidy provided by the government to the fishing industry is the most important program, accounting for up to 50 per cent of total fisheries subsidies. Please describe the nature and operation of this program, and the amounts provided under the program during the period covered by the new and full notification.


The following information is without prejudice to whether the program is covered by Article 25.2 of the SCM Agreement. For the nature and operation of the program, Article 106-2 of the Act on the Restriction of Special Tax Treatment provides as follows.

Article 106-2 (Abatement or Exemption of Value-Added Tax, etc. on Petroleum Products for Agriculture, Forestry, Fisheries, and Coastal Passenger Ships)

(1) Among the following petroleum products (referring to the petroleum products under the Petroleum and Petroleum Substitute Fuel Business Act; hereafter referred to as "tax-free petroleum" in this Article), the value-added tax on the supplies delivered on or before June 30, 2012 and the individual consumption tax, the traffic, energy and environment tax, the education tax, and the driving tax on the supplies released from a manufacturing place or a bonded area on or before the afore-stated date shall be reduced or exempted as prescribed by Presidential Decree, while the value-added tax on the supplies delivered during the period between July 1, 2012 and December 31, 2012 and the individual consumption tax, the traffic, energy and environment tax, the education tax, and the driving tax on the supplies released from a manufacturing place or a bonded area during the afore-stated period shall be abated by 75/100 of each tax under the conditions as prescribed by Presidential Decree:

1. Petroleum products required by a farmer, a forestry person, or a fishery person specified by Presidential Decree (hereafter referred to as "farmer, forester, or fisherman" in this Article) for the purposes of agriculture, forestry, or fisheries, which are prescribed by Presidential Decree; and

2. Petroleum products supplied directly to the Korea Shipping Association established pursuant to the Korea Shipping Association Act for the use in passenger ships operating on coastal waters.

(2) In cases where certain petroleum products delivered to a petroleum distributor (hereafter referred to as a "petroleum distributor" in this Article) prescribed by Presidential Decree, including a gas station, with the value-added tax, the individual consumption tax, the traffic, energy and environment tax, the education tax, and the driving tax already levied thereon and supplied to a farmer, forester, or fisher falls under paragraph (1) 1, the petroleum distributor may file an application under the conditions as prescribed by Presidential Decree to have the refund of the tax amount otherwise exempted or have the tax amount payable or collectible reduced by the amount.

(3) A farmer, forester, or fisherman who desires to have tax-free petroleum supplied shall file a report on the current status of agricultural machines, forestry machines, or ships and facilities prescribed by Presidential Decree in possession (hereafter referred to as "agricultural machines, etc." in this Article) and the fact that the person has engaged in agriculture, forestry, or fisheries, under the conditions as prescribed by Presidential Decree, with a cooperative under the Agricultural Cooperatives Act Agricultural Cooperatives Act, a cooperative under the Forestry Cooperatives Act Forestry Cooperatives Act, or a cooperative under the Fisheries Cooperatives Act Fisheries Cooperatives Act(hereafter referred to as a "cooperative acting as an institution responsible for control of tax-free petroleum" in this Article), and shall also file a report on a change within 30 days from the day on which such a change occurs, if any change in the reported matters occurs, such as the acquisition or transfer of an agricultural machine, etc., the death of the farmer, forester, or fisher, and giving up the agricultural, forestry, or fishery business.

(4) A farmer, forester, or fisher who desires to have tax-free petroleum supplied shall obtain a card for purchasing tax-free petroleum or a delivery order prescribed by the Presidential Decree and issued by a cooperative acting as an institution responsible for control of tax-free petroleum (hereafter referred to as "tax-free petroleum purchase cards, etc." in this Article).

The total amount of fuel subsidy provided to the fishing industry was 788 billion won in 2007 and 614 billion won in 2008.

Question 2

The Korean press has reported that Korea plans to allocate 7.09 trillion won (US$6.24 billion) in investment funds and loans to the Korean fisheries industry. The Ministry for Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries stated that it would also launch 38 new long-range fishing vessels to replace old boats and that up to 1,085 fishing boats will be given light-emitting diodes as fish-luring lights. Please provide further details on these plans and the proposed terms and conditions on the investment funds and loans.


The following reply contains information for the period not covered by 2009 new and full subsidy notifications which had been circulated in the G/SCM/N/186 … series.

Total amount of funds and loans for the five-year period between 2010 and 2014 was set at 7.12 trillion won including 1.39 trillion won in 2010 (fixed), 1.39 trillion won for 2011, 1.44 trillion won for 2012, 1.44 trillion won for 2013 and 1.46 trillion won for 2014 (estimated and subject to change depending on the final national budget plan of each year).

Under the Old Fishing Vessel Replacement Program, the Korean government provided 16.4 billion won of loan for replacing two vessels in 2010 with condition of 4 per cent interest rate and repayment for seven years after a lapse of three years. The limit of loan was set at 70 per cent of the total construction cost. The other 36 vessels are planned to be replaced during 2011-2014.

"The Program to Support Vessels to Install LED Lights" aims at energy saving and carbon emission reduction. In the program, it is planned to grant 6.5 billion won to 1,085 vessels which will be equipped with LED lights from 2009 to 2013. Each year 1.3 billion is granted to 217 vessels. The government grant is provided to cover 40 per cent of the total installing cost.


WTO: subsidies notifications - Republic of Korea - (Canada puts questions on fish subsidies)

Lack of transparency and opacity are among the biggest problems confronting a number of stakeholders in the current debate on fisheries subsidies.

The very poor record in notifications to the WTO of subsidies to the fisheries sector is one of the issues that a number of governments, NGOs and academia have pointed as main obstacles to have an informed discussion and a clear picture of what are the real effects of subsidies on the fish resources.

Some countries are reporting subsidies to fisheries in the context of WTO Members’ notification obligations under the Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing measures.

The Republic of Korea is one of them. The last “New and Full Notification” from Korea is dated 7 May 2010 and has the WTO reference G/SCM/N/186/KOR.

The interesting thing about the notification to the WTO is that other countries can asks questions to the notifying Member on the content of the notification.

I copy hereunder the questions that Canada asked to Korea on fisheries subsidies (WTO ref. G/SCM/Q2/KOR/35 of 15 October 2010).

Question re Support for Fishing Activities

The stated purpose of the subsidy is to relieve financial burden and support stable fishing business operations by providing lower rate loans. Canada would like to have more information on the specific types of fishing activities and business operations that this programme supports.


The loan is given to the fishermen regardless of fishing gear type as long as the fishermen have the rights to fish in accordance with related laws and regulations. This includes fishermen engaged in aquaculture and inland and marine capture fishing activities.

Question re Support for Aquaculture Fishery Development

The policy objective of this programme is to have a stable supply of fishery products by supporting the development of aquaculture fishery under the changing circumstances of domestic and overseas fisheries production environment. Could the Republic of Korea please explain the meaning of "changing circumstances of domestic and overseas fisheries production environment"?


That may include, for example, changes in demand for fishery products, changes in annual catches in the coastal and off-shore waters, consumers' concern for sanitary condition of fishery products, and environmentally friendly and responsible aquaculture.

Question re Support for Old Fishing Vessel and Equipments Replacement

According to the description of the policy objectives, this programme ensures navigational safety through replacement of old vessels and vessel equipments. Could you provide more details as to what type of vessel equipment is supported by this programme? How many and which types of vessels have benefitted from this programme?


Under this programme, two old pelagic fishing vessels were replaced during 2007-2008 with imported used fishing vessels.

Question re Support for R&D of Environmental Technology Development Projects

Could Korea elaborate on the types of "cutting-edge environmental technologies" that have received support?


There have been 271 R&D programmes (i.e. "cutting-edge environmental technologies") that have received support under Development of and Support for Environmental Technology Act during 2007-2008, and they are categorized into five sectors as following:

• Core post-processing technologies which are the basis for pollution reduction in various environmental factors
• Preventive anti-pollution technologies such as those used for development of sustainable eco-friendly materials, products and manufacturing process
• Environmental technologies to actively cope with international environmental issues
• Original technologies for environmental fusion area
• Technologies used for combining relevant effective environmental technologies


COLOMBIA: Subsidies to aquaculture, contingent on export

Aquaculture seems to be spared (at least from now) from new disciplines on subsidies to fisheries.

Fish farming has become, over the years, an important source of supply of fish products. This is the case in developed countries (e.g. Norway) and in developing economies (e.g. China, Chile, Vietnam, etc). The growth in this industry is such that we could witness very soon aquaculture overtaking capture  fisheries in terms of supply of fish products for human consumption.

Some countries do realize the key importance of this sector and are providing financial help to fish farmers. A few days ago I stumbled upon a Colombian scheme whereby fish farmers involved in the production of shrimp, tilapia and trout receive subsidies for “inputs”, on condition that they export their produce.

According to the information posted in the website of Colombia’s  “Ministerio de Agricultura y Desarrollo Rural” the programme is funded with COP Colombian Peso 5,000 million (USD 2.8 million).

Here is the link to the aforementioned website (in Spanish) announcing the scheme:

And here the link to the full text of the scheme:


WTO: reporting on informal negotiating meeting on fisheries subsidies (7)

A few days ago I wrote a post about a REUTERS « alert » quoting the Chair of the negotiating group as he spoke over the “new tone in the talks”.

The ICTSD has published in its website an article on the negotiating meeting which, according to the ICTSD, took place in the week of 4 October 2010.

An interesting feature of the meeting is that, always according to ICTSD, there was a plenary session (on 4 and 5 October) followed by discussions in smaller groups of delegates.

The article mentions that the latest submissions by the BRICs (Brazil, China, India) and Mexico (doc. TN/RL/GEN/163) and by the US (TN/RL/GEN/165) were discussed.

I discussed the BRICs + Mexico’s submission in my post of 13 February 2010. This submission included a proposal to prohibit to developed countries those « subsidies arising from the further transfer, by a payer Member government, of access rights that it has acquired from another Member government to fisheries within the jurisdiction of such other Member.». I wonder how those WTO Members that are very dependent on access fees paid by developed countries did react to this proposal.

I also discussed the US paper in my post of 24 April 2010. I also wonder whether there was some discussion about the suppression by the US of the exceptions for subsidies for retraining for activities other than fishing, re-education and early retirement.

It would also be interesting to know whether the US had, in relation to exceptions for disaster relief , “further thoughts as to its scope and placement as technical discussions of the text continue.” (see paragraph 8 in page 2 of the US submission). 

I imagine that the oil spill (a man-made disaster) in the Gulf of Mexico is providing enough food for thought to US negotiators on the scope and placement of exceptions for “disaster relief”. One suggestion could be to allow for “privately funded subsidies” (such as those requested by the State of Louisiana) to the fisheries sector.

Here is the link to the article by ICTSD:



WTO: the new Chair of the negotiating group "goes public"

Here is a link to an article by Reuters (8 October 2010) on the latest (informal?) negotiating meeting in Geneva.

The title of the article is "WTO negotiators sense new tone in fish talks"



USA: the State of Louisiana asks BP to fund a large aid package to the fishing industry

In August 2010 Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal called BP to provide funds for a long-term testing and a marketing campaign to convince consumers seafood from his state is safe. More specifically he asked BP to fund a funding of a USD 173 million plan to ensure the safety of Louisiana seafood and restore consumer confidence.

Governor Jindal made this call after he announced on 19 August 2010 that BP had agreed to fund a three-year, USD 13 million fishery-resource monitoring plan.

In actual fact the total cost of the “Louisiana Seafood Safety Response and Certification Plan”, which could cover a 20 year implementation period, has been estimated at USD 457 million.

According to the plan USD 276,703,354 would be spent in media purchases for the public education campaign. A detailed reading of the yearly budgeted amounts reveals that during the first five years of the plan a yearly amount of USD 20-30 million would be spent in “ad buys”, i.e. media purchases.

If, for the sake of argument, BP would agree to provide this funds to the Louisiana’s budget, or to disburse them as directed by Louisiana’s authorities, would this a subsidy in the sense of the WTO’s Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures?

I referred to a similar situation where fishermen in Cape Cod where getting “subsidies” from the Pew Group (see my post of 1 November 2009 “USA: "charitable" fisheries subsidies and the WTO”)

Here are links to:

Governor’s Jindal announcement on 19 August 2010:


A letter dated 15 September 2010 from Lousiana’s Department for Wildlife and Fisheries Secretary Robert Barham reiterating the call for BP to fund an Extensive Seafood Testing, Certification and Marketing Plan to Robert Dudley Chief Executive Officer of BP Global.


Lousiana’s Department for Wildlife and Fisheries page, which includes a link to the plan


NORWAY: report on aid provided to the cod sector

Some readers may remember that, in late 2009, I wrote various on the aid measures that the Norwegian government took to help companies in the cod sector to withstand the crisis creted by low prices in the consumer market.

Well now NOFIMA, a state controlled, business oriented research group working in research and development for the aquaculture, fisheries and food industry in Norway, has published a report on the crisis.

In the press release by NOFIMA (31 August 2010) one can read:

“In order to help the situation, the authorities implemented a series of measures. These included offering loans and guarantees, funds for marketing and subsidies for the transportation of fish between different regions. The cod quotas were also increased.”

Here is the link to the English version of the press release:


And here the link to the report (in Norwegian):



BRAZIL: fisheries subsidies notification to the WTO

The WTO Secretariat published on 1 September 2010 the document "New and Full Notification Pursuant to Article XVI.1 of the GATT 1994 and Article 25 of the Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures" by Brazil. The reference number of this document is G/SCM/N/186/BRA. The document is available at the WTO website.

Under the section "FISHERIES INCENTIVES" only the "PROGRAMME FOR DIESEL OIL SUPPORT" is notified.

I copy here the contents of this section.
1. Title of programme

Programme for Economic Subvention to the Price of Diesel Oil Used by Fishing Vessels.

2. Period covered by the notification

From January 2007 to December 2008.

3. Policy objective and/or purpose

To equalize the price of diesel oil paid by national fishing vessels with the international market price.

4. Legislation and authority

The programme was established by Law 9445, of 14 March 1997, regulated by Decree 4969, of 30 January 2004, and by the former Secretariat for Aquaculture and Fisheries - SEAP (presently the Ministry for Aquaculture and Fisheries) Normative Instruction 18, of 28 August 2006. The Ministry for Aquaculture and Fisheries is responsible for the administration of the programme.

5. Form of subsidy

The reimbursement of the difference (if below 25 per cent) between the diesel oil price paid by the beneficiary and the international market price.

6. To whom and how the subsidy is provided

Recipients: Fishing vessel owners or charters (natural or legal persons); professional fishermen and fishing industries.

Benefits will be granted when there is a difference of up to 25 per cent between the price of the fuel paid by national vessels and the international market price.

7. Total amount

Fiscal Year 2007: R$ 25.5 million.
Fiscal Year 2008: R$ 20.5 million.

8. Duration

Not defined.

9. Trade effects


PHILIPPINES: Subsidies for fish workers affected by tuna a fishing ban

Here is a press release by the Philippines' Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) on the above subject:

Press Releases

DOLE launches action program to workers affected by the tuna fishing ban

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) in Region 12 launched Friday, February 26, 2010 the DOLE Action Program for workers displaced due to the tuna fishing ban in General Santos City.

DOLE 12 Regional Director Atty. Ma. Gloria Tango said that initially, the DOLE provided emergency employment assistance to workers displaced due to the ban by adopting the 60-40 mode of payment to workers for a period of 30 days. Sixty percent of the prevailing minimum wage in the region will come from DOLE while the remaining 40 percent will be shouldered by the participating affected company.

Tango said that the Damalerio Fishing Corporation (DFC), a group of companies composed of Celebes Tuna Fishing Corporation, Tuna Venture Corporation and Damalerio Fishing Enterprise availed of the said package of assistance that will benefit a total of 207 displaced workers.

Tango turned over the 1st tranche amounting to P456,435.00 representing the 60 percent of the workers minimum wage to Aurea Damalerio, President of the Damalerio Group of Companies held at the fishport compound last February 26, 2010.

The displaced workers of the companies will do maintenance work such as painting, welding, carpentry, electrical/mechanical repair, net-mending, refrigeration and hardware stock inventory.

Tango also said that NH Agro Industrial, Inc., another tuna fishing company affected by the closure of the 2 pockets in the Western and Central Pacific shall avail of DOLE’s Kabuhayan Starter Kits for its displaced workers or their beneficiaries.

She also said that youth beneficiaries/dependents of said workers will be prioritized in the Special Program for the Employment of Students (SPES) or the Kabataan Information Technology Opportunities (K-ITo) as mentors if they qualify.

Other affected companies may also avail of the Workers’ Income Augmentation Program (WINAP) of DOLE.


CANADA: subsidies for the fish processing industry

I copy here under a press release by the Provincial Government of New Brunswick.

As you can see this Canadian Provincial Government is "providing a $3-million forgivable loan as part of a $12-million project that will help maintain more than 1,000 jobs in southwestern New Brunswick."

According to an online article of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, if Connors maintains the 1.000 jobs in Blacks Harbour, the loan will not have to pay back the loan.

News Release
Business New Brunswick
Province supports efficiency upgrades at Blacks Harbour fish processor
24 June 2010 Media Contact(s)
Ashley Bursey, communications, Business New Brunswick, 506-461-0942, ashley.bursey@gnb.ca; Mike Randall, communications, Connors Bros., 506-878-3025.

BLACKS HARBOUR (CNB) - The provincial government is making an investment to help Connors Bros. complete efficiency upgrades to its processing plant. Premier Shawn Graham made the announcement today.

Graham made the announcement during a tour of the plant with Fisheries Minister Rick Doucet; Nabil Salib, plant general manager and company vice-president; Tony Hooper, company vice-president; and Ron Schindler, company executive vice-president.

"This company has been a vital part of our provincial economy since the 1890s," said Graham. "As we move toward a self-sufficient future, our plan for lower taxes and our strategic investments in key industries are helping companies to jump into new markets and diversify their products. Connors Bros. is an important example of how the revitalization of a traditional industry can carry a company successfully into the future."

The provincial government is providing a $3-million forgivable loan as part of a $12-million project that will help maintain more than 1,000 jobs in southwestern New Brunswick.

Connors Bros. is one of Canada's oldest food producers and the largest producer of canned sardines worldwide. In 2004, the operations of Connors Bros. merged with those of Bumble Bee Seafoods LLC and Clover Leaf Seafoods Co.

"We are proud to call Blacks Harbour the Sardine Capital of the World," said Schindler. "The assistance from the province means we can continue to produce a variety of high-quality canned seafood to compete in a global market. This modernization initiative will improve plant efficiencies and working conditions while helping us become more energy-efficient. These changes will be good for business, for our employees and for our future."

The Blacks Harbour plant is the only sardine cannery in North America. Its various companies produce canned tuna, salmon, sardines, clams, oysters, other specialty seafood products and canned meat products to a global market.

"In New Brunswick, our people are our greatest resource," said Doucet. "Our government is pleased to support one of our province's oldest and most significant employers as it continues to improve this facility for its workers and to find innovative solutions to stay competitive in a dynamic world marketplace."


Here are the links to the Provincial press release and to the story published by CBC:




WTO: fisheries subsidies negotiation and developmental aspects of the Doha Round

The WTO Secretariat published on 19 August 2010 a revision (nr. 4) of a document titled “DEVELOPMENTAL ASPECTS OF THE DOHA ROUND OF NEGOTIATIONS”

This Report (or note) was established by the WTO Secretariat following a request by WTO Members for a background paper for the 54th Session of the CTD of the Committee on Trade and Development (CTD), held on 5 October 2005, at which this Group undertook a preliminary review of the "developmental aspects" of the Doha Round of negotiations.

In this latest revision of the note the Secretariat writes the following on fisheries subsidies negotiations (numbers refer to paragraphs):

107. Finally, in the area of fisheries subsidies, developing Members point in general to the important role that fisheries can have for poverty alleviation, livelihoods and food security. Concerning possible new disciplines on fisheries subsidies, some developing Members favour very strict disciplines with few exceptions and limited S&D, while others seek broad exemptions from any new disciplines.

108. In November 2007, on the basis of the mandate from Ministers at Hong Kong, the Chairman of the Negotiating Group on Rules (NGR) tabled his first draft texts covering anti-dumping, subsidies and countervailing measures, and fisheries subsidies. These were consolidated texts that addressed a wide range of issues in all of these areas, based on the proposals and discussions that had preceded them. The texts contained specific proposed language from the Chairman on the issues addressed, with no brackets or alternatives. On fisheries subsidies, the Chairman's text took the form of an entirely new annex to the SCM Agreement, proposing a comprehensive set of new disciplines in this area. These texts, which were discussed in detail during 2008, all proved to be very controversial, and the gaps on the most politically sensitive issues were not narrowed through the discussions. In December 2008, therefore, the Chairman circulated new, "bottom-up", texts on anti-dumping and on subsidies and countervailing measures, proposing specific language where in his view there was the greatest possibility for convergence, and for the most sensitive issues replacing his former proposed language with square brackets summarizing the range of positions of delegations. For fisheries subsidies, such an approach was not possible as there is no pre-existing set of disciplines in this area. The Chairman thus circulated a roadmap for discussion, containing a set of detailed questions on the major issues needing resolution. The Group completed its discussion of these texts in early 2010, and has begun considering new proposals that have been tabled in various areas of its mandate.

112 112. Concerning fisheries subsidies, the main proponents of new, sector-specific disciplines comprise a group called "Friends of Fish", which includes a number of developing country Members. For the developing country proponents, the main concern is the artificial competitive advantage created by subsidies, which affect access to fish and contribute to the depletion of the resource. Most Members (developed as well as developing) have stressed the need for effective S&D as part of any fisheries subsidies package. Of particular concern in this regard are small-scale, artisanal fisheries and any subsidies thereto, as well as payments that some developing Members receive from foreign governments for access to the fisheries in their waters. Aquaculture is another area of considerable interest to many developing country Members, which seek to ensure that any new disciplines would not interfere with these activities. The 2007 Chairman's text on fisheries subsidies proposed S&D provisions to address developing Members' subsidies to different scales of fishing operations, and to address access payments. In addition, the scope of the text was limited to subsidies to marine capture fisheries (i.e., it did not extend to aquaculture). The Chairman's 2008 roadmap pursued these and other issues, which the Group discussed in detail during 2009. Since then, new proposals have been tabled, inter alia, by several groups of developing Members seeking to redefine the S&D provisions in different ways.

(d) Possible gains to developing countries
113. An eventual clarification and improvement of any of the rules under negotiation will increase the predictability of the trading system to the benefit of all Members. Moreover, an appropriate balance of rights and obligations will permit developing countries to pursue their development objectives and at the same time guard against practices that have a negative impact on their trade. In this regard, effective disciplines on the fisheries subsidies of the major subsidizing Members will benefit developing Members in terms of access to fisheries resources and in terms of reduced distortion of trade in fisheries products. Another area where balance is crucial concerns trade-offs between the costs and administrative burdens of the contingency protection system and its capacity to ensure fairness and transparency.


WTO: fish starring in the latest WTO's "World Trade Report" (2010)

Readers monitoring developments at the WTO would have noticed that the 2010 issue of the "World Trade Report.

There is a lot of talk on "fish" in the document.

The document also deals with measures by countries restricting exports of natural resources. The Report underlines the fact that these measures can have the effects of subsidies as they lower domestic price of the products concerned, which in turn makes the domestic (processing) industry using these products more competitive.

I found that recent post in the "International Economic Law and Policy Blog" (one of the blogs appearing in "My blog list") highlighted this issue when commenting on the WTO's Report.

Here is the link to the post:


And here the links to the WTO document and to an article by the ICTSD on Report.




USA: subsidies for the tuna processing industry

One million USD for the tuna cannery of Chicken of the Sea in Giorgia.

Here are the news releases on this:

EDGE Fund – Toombs County Development Authority and Chicken of the Sea

Lyons, GA – A $1 million EDGE grant from the OneGeorgia Authority to the Toombs County Development Authority provided assistance with building improvements to benefit the location to Georgia of a manufacturing and distribution facility for Tri-Union Seafoods, LLC d.b.a. Chicken of the Sea International, one of the top producers of canned/pouched tuna capturing 25 percent of the US market share.

Chicken of the Sea located into an existing 212,000 SF industrial building previously occupied by Simonton Building Products, Inc. In addition, COS constructed a 13,968 square-foot freezer facility connected to the existing building needed for its tuna canning operation. The facility is situated on a 27.02-acre site in the Toombs Corporate Center on US Hwy 1 north of Lyons.

Tri-Union Seafoods, LLC (TUS) is a subsidiary of Thai Union International, Inc. (TUI) which is based in San Diego. This processing and canning operation for TUS is the first in Georgia. Chicken of the Sea will invest $20, 000,000 in the facility and create 310 new jobs within four years. The raw tuna is shipped straight from the Port of Savannah to process into shelf stable canned tuna, and then shipped throughout the United States.

The EDGE Fund, a specialized incentive tool, is used to enhance Georgia’s competitiveness in attracting significant economic development projects. It is a program providing “deal-closing” funds when one rural Georgia community competes for a business location or expansion with another state or country.
• Required elements: a recommendation for funding from a state agency; private investment commitment and job creation commitment from the beneficiary business.
• Benefits must exceed costs.
• Clawback provisions require partial repayment in the event job-creation or private-investment commitments are not met.

Who can apply?
Eligible applicants for EDGE funding are general-purpose local governments, local-government authorities, joint or multi-county development authorities in any of the directly eligible counties or conditionally eligible counties. Eligible sub-recipients are legally established business entities.

How much money is available?
EDGE Funds are not limited in amount. Grant and/or Loan amounts are recommended by the Georgia Department of Economic Development and are based on economic impact and demonstrated need.

How can the funding be utilized?
EDGE funds may be used for the purchase of publicly owned assets such as land and site development; infrastructure improvements; and publicly owned/ privately leased assets, such as land, buildings & machinery and equipment. Demonstration that relocation or expansion will enhance the overall economic security of the county is an important consideration. Applicants are encouraged to seek the advice of the Authority prior to submitting an application.

Here’s how it works:
Applications are online at www.onegeorgia.org and are accepted on an ongoing basis. Funding is used only when the industry is actively considering a location in another state.



Toombs County Development Authority / Tri-Union Seafoods, LLC d.b.a. Chicken of the Sea International

EDGE grant funds of $1 million are awarded to assist with building improvements at the location of a manufacturing and distribution facility for Tri-Union Seafoods, LLC d.b.a. Chicken of the Sea International (COS). Chicken of the Sea is one of the top producers of canned/pouched tuna capturing 25 percent of the US market share. The company, located in an existing industrial building, constructed a 14,000 square-foot freezer facility that is connected to the existing building. The facility is situated on a 27 acre site in the Toombs Corporate Center on US Hwy 1 north of Lyons. Tri-Union Seafoods, LLC (TUS) is a subsidiary of Thai Union International, Inc. (TUI) which is based in San Diego. The parent company is the second largest processor of tuna in the world and with the opening of the Georgia plant; Thai Union Frozen Products anticipates that it will become the largest tuna processor in the world. The Toombs County canning operation is the first in Georgia for TUI and its’ many subsidiaries.

* EDGE Award: $1 million / Total Project Cost: $21.5 million
* 310 new jobs in four years / Interstate competition: South Carolina



WTO: Director-General Pascal Lamy on fisheries subsidies on World Environment Day (5 June 2010)

Mr Pascal Lamy made a statement on World Environment Day and referred to fisheries subsidies negotations as an area where the WTO is helping to protect world oceans. On the issue on reaching a deal on this negotiating subject Mr Lamy said:

"A deal in the WTO would mean richer oceans for future generations and would constitute a triple-win for trade, environment and development".

What strcuk me is that Mr Lamy did not say a deal in the context of the Doha Round but rather... a deal in the WTO...(outside the Doha Round?).


WTO: fisheries subsidies should be part of the single undertaking...according to Barbados and New Zealand

Mining in the internet n the issue of fisheries subsidies negotiations I found an interesting interview that “Subsidy Watch” an electronic newsletter that provides news, commentary and analysis related to subsidies and sustainable development published in May 2009, in its issue 39.

The interviewed were Matthew A. Wilson, First Secretary, Permanent Mission of Barbados to the United Nations and other International Organisations at Geneva and Alice Tipping, Second Secretary to the WTO for the New Zealand Permanent Mission in Geneva. According to Subsidy Watch “Japan and the European Commission were also asked to respond, but did not do so before our publishing deadline.” I wonder whether the US were also asked to respond to the questions.

The last question is about whether the WTO should stick to the single undertaking when it comes to fisheries subsidies negotiations. I copy hereunder the full question and the answers, highlighting the passages with references to fisheries subsidies staying in the single undertaking.

SW: What are the odds that the fisheries subsidies negotiations move to another venue if the WTO talks remain stalled for too long? In a related question, if the round as a whole does not progress in the near future, would you endorse having the fisheries negotiations ‘carved out’ so that they could proceed separately?

Barbados: I am confident that the Round will be completed. The talks are not stalled. We are still having meetings and negotiations and there is still much to discuss and agree to in the area of fisheries, so it is too early to begin looking at shifting the venue or carving out any negotiations for early harvest. The DDA is clear on the issue of the single undertaking, so all issues will have to be adopted by Ministers simultaneously. I do believe that, even in the unlikely event that we were not to finalise the negotiations on fisheries, the issue of sustainability, fisheries management and the developmental aspects of fisheries have been sufficiently ventilated over the past few years, especially by important NGOs such as the WWF, the ICTSD and OCEANA, that engagement on this issue would be continue. The key is for the FAO and Regional Fisheries Management Organizations to follow through on some of the issues being discussed at the WTO, even in the event that there is no formal agreement.

New Zealand: The WTO is the appropriate venue for multilateral negotiations on fisheries subsidies for two key reasons. First, the problem is as much economic and trade-related as it is environmental. Over a third of global fish production is traded internationally, making fish one of the most traded ‘agricultural’ commodities. Fish and fish products account for around 13 percent of global ‘agricultural’ trade. The World Bank and the FAO, in their 2008 report entitled “Sunken Billions”, estimate that the potential benefits of this trade are far less than they should be; the economic losses in the global marine fisheries industry, resulting from inefficiencies (including subsidies) and overfishing add up to US$50 billion per year— that’s US$1.5 trillion over the last 30 years.

Second, disciplines around fisheries subsidies should be derived from, and consistent with, existing disciplines around general subsidies. The WTO Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures’ existing disciplines set a solid, multilaterally agreed legal framework for these trade measures, and the terminology and concepts involved have been interpreted and clarified by the dispute-settlement process over many years. It is the logical institutional and legal base from which to build a new set of disciplines on fisheries subsidies.

These negotiations provide a unique opportunity to create effective disciplines on fisheries subsidies that deplete fish stocks on which the livelihoods of vulnerable communities depend. The negotiations are an integral element of the Doha Development Agenda, and New Zealand believes the final disciplines should form part of the outcome of the Doha round as a whole.

Here is the link to the full text of the interview: