TWN Info Service
on WTO and Trade Issues (Dec09/13)
Group concludes discussion on fisheries roadmap
Geneva, 11 Dec (Kanaga Raja) -- The WTO Negotiating Group on Rules concluded this week its examination of the Chair's road-map on fisheries subsidies, with the discussions focusing on the issues of implementation of new disciplines and the transition period for implementing the new disciplines.
At an informal meeting of the Group on 10 December, developing countries, on the issue of implementation, highlighted the need for more technical assistance and capacity-building, in particular, on establishing fisheries management systems.
to trade officials,
On the issue of transition period, trade officials said that there was widespread agreement that developing countries should be given a longer transition period to implement the new agreement.
Ambassador Guillermo Valles Galmes of
Group also discussed a new proposal from
According to the Korean proposal, subsidies other than those falling under the Red Box (subsidies to be prohibited ex ante without a further overcapacity/over-fishing tests) shall be proscribed only if they are determined to be causing overcapacity and over-fishing.
an overcapacity and over-fishing test is required as a first step, in
line with the general discipline of the Subsidies and Countervailing
Measures Agreement on actionable subsidies. The subsidies should be
proscribed only when scientific and objective examinations on the effects
of the challenged fisheries subsidies demonstrate that the subsidies
in question result in overcapacity and over-fishing, said
For instance, it added, a proposed regulation of subsidies conferred on operating costs, including fuel, warrants more detailed and comprehensive discussions among Members. It can be agreed that fuel subsidy has the potential, but not the certainty, to lead to overcapacity and over-fishing.
The Korean proposal said that at the same time, however, it may also be true that categorical prohibition of fuel subsidy in its entirety, simple as it may be, would cause substantially negative impact on the livelihood of the Members' fishing households that have been traditionally dependent upon such measures.
Any proposed regulation on the fuel subsidy, therefore, should be tailored down to address these conflicting interests. In this context, regulation of the fuel subsidies could also be based on an objective and scientific assessment of the alleged overcapacity and over-fishing arising from the subsidy granting measure, it added.
It further said that recognizing the relatively higher potential of the adverse effects of certain subsidies, it may be suggested that these subsidies create a re-buttable presumption of causing overcapacity and over-fishing, unless demonstrated otherwise. An example of a subsidy falling under this category would be a subsidy for the price support.
to trade officials,
Earlier in the week (7-8 December), the Group took up the issue of anti-dumping, discussing two bracketed issues in the Chair's draft text: (a) causation of injury; and (b) anti-circumvention, as well as a number of un-bracketed issues.
In discussions on horizontal subsidies on 9 December, the Group took up the bracketed topic of "certain financing of loss-making institutions".
According to trade officials, while some Members expressed support for including this amendment, a number of developing countries voiced concern that this could discriminate against state-trading enterprises.
Chair said that the next meeting of the Group would be on 25-27 January
2010 to discuss horizontal subsidies (two new proposals from
On 1-4 March 2010, he said that the Group will discuss his text on anti-dumping (the bracketed texts on "zeroing", public interest, lesser duty, and sunset reviews). +