WTO: U.S. accuses China of not notifying (4 billion USD?) fisheries subsidies

Many stakeholders in the fisheries subsidies debate have complained about the lack of transparency, especially by countries that are Members to the WTO. In actual fact the WTO has rules that oblige its Members to notify all the subsidies they provide and the fisheries (and aquaculture) industry are no exception to this rule.

The U.S. seems to have embarked in a "transparency" crusade, fighting those WTO countries (and there are many!) that do not fulfil their notifications obligations.

So, at the rencently concluded "Trade Policy Review" of China, Michael Punke, U.S. Ambassador to the WTO, said the following when delivering his statement on the review:

In addition, China has failed to notify large fisheries subsidies, even though China is the world’s greatest fishing power and the Secretariat’s Report cites a study indicating that the Chinese Government’s support of this industry has exceeded $4 billion per year.  The United States expects China, commensurate with its fishing status, to notify all of its fisheries subsidies promptly and to make a significant contribution in the WTO’s ongoing work toward ambitious and effective disciplines on fisheries subsidies.

Readers will find the full text of Ambassador's Punke here:


NGO: vast majority of capacity enhancing fisheries subsidies provided by Asian countries

The ICTSD has just published an "Information note" titled "Tackling Perverse Subsidies in Agriculture, Fisheries and Energy". 

At the end of the note it is stated that: "This publication is a contribution to the series of activities “From Harmful to Safe Subsidies” jointly organized by the Varda Group, the Global Campaign for Climate Action and ICTSD with the participation of Oxfam, Greenpeace, Friends of Fossil Fuels Subsidy Reform, Bloomberg New Energy Finance, IISD, UNEP and other organizations in the run-up and during the Rio +20 meetings in 2012."

Readers will remember that I wrote a post on this issue of "Safe subsidies" (see the entry 13 May 2012 on Rio+20).

I was struck by two graphs built on the basis of a 2010 study by Prof. Sumaila and others.

In the first graph (Figure 1 on page 3) Asia ranks number one region in providing fisheries subsidies. It also provides the vast majority of capacity enhancing subsidies.

In another graph (Figure 2 on page 3) one can see that in Africa, fisheries subsidies count for almost 60% of the landed value (2003). This makes Africa top the league when using this ratio to measure fisheries subsidies "intensity".

Here is the reference to the information note:

ICTSD; (2012); Tackling Perverse Subsidies in Agriculture, Fisheries and Energy; ICTSD Programme on Global Economic Policy and Institutions; Information Note; International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development, Geneva, Switzerland, www.ictsd.org

I downloaded it from the following web page: