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India: WTO fisheries talks: Members try to untangle special, differential treatment by Amiti Sen February 23,2021   |  Source: The Hindu Business Line

New WTO DG wants fisheries pact to be finalised by next Ministerial Conference
World Trade Organisation’s next Director General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has prioritised the proposed agreement on pruning harmful fisheries subsidies, which is stuck over extending special and differential treatment to developing countries like India, and has said that the pact should be finalised by the next Ministerial Conference (MC12) likely this year.

“The second cluster of fisheries subsidies meetings has taken place this week and members held bilateral and small group discussions. There were separate talks on special and differential treatment for developing countries but differences remain,” a Geneva-based official told BusinessLine. An agreement on prohibiting ‘harmful’ fisheries subsidies could lead to elimination of an estimated at $14 billion-$20.5 billion of subsidies annually that lead to overfishing and depletion of fish stocks worldwide, but many countries like India have sought exemption for artisanal fishers who fish in territorial waters. Some WTO members, however, are of the view that instead of giving an exemption, developing countries should be allowed a transitional period before rules on prohibited subsidies get implemented.

“Some options that were examined

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