New Zealand: foreing vessels (and foreign subsidies?) and charter agreements

Some of my previous posts on NZ included a one titled "Domcumentary on NZ fishing practices" (15/08/2009).

New Zealand's authorities have taken these allegations very seriously and have launched a "Ministerial Inquiry into Foreign Charter Vessels" on these practices.

When going through some of the documents related to the inquiry and looking at the "nationality" of the vessels involved in the fishing operations (South Korea, Ukraine, Japan and Dominica) I wondered whether NZ companies where benefiting from subsidised fishing capacity, i.e. from vessels that would have been built with subsidies (investment susbsidies) and that would receive subsidies for operating costs (for example lower social security contributions) from the flag countries.

Perhaps readers have comments on this, i.e. the possible use of subsidised vessels, and its relation to WTO issues, such as the export of products that have benefited from subsidies (WTO Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing measures).
Similarly to what the US vs. Canada softwoodlumber case highlighted, could we speak here of the "passing-through" of, say, a South Korean subsidy (for the construction of the vessel), to the NZ company operating the charter arrangement and exporting the product to a third country? Should counter-vailing measures be adopted, against whom should they be directed? Againts NZ or against South Korea?

Comments and views are welcome!

Here is the link to the page of the Fisheries Ministry's website with information on the inquiry:


And here the link to the "Nautical Blog" with a post on this issue (chartering in New Zealand):


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