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Joint Statement on WTO Negotiations on Fisheries Subsidies
December 6, 2019

Joint Statement by the United States, Argentina, Australia, Colombia, Iceland, New Zealand, Panama, Uruguay

Communicated on 6 December 2019 in the WTO Trade Negotiations Committee
As Delivered by Argentina


Our delegations commit to continue to engage constructively in the fisheries subsidies negotiations, in order to adopt an agreement on comprehensive and effective disciplines, as called for by Ministers in the Buenos Aires Decision of 13 December 2017 (WT/MIN(17)/64 – WT/L/1031.) We welcome the appointment of Ambassador Santiago Wills from Colombia as the new Chair of the Negotiating Group on Rules (RNG), and are confident that his leadership will help us meet our mandate by the 12th Ministerial Conference scheduled for Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan, 8-11 June 2020. The health of our oceans, and the credibility of the WTO, depend on our success.

We welcome the progress made this year in the RNG, including consideration of a range of new and updated proposals aimed at finding common ground in the negotiations. We are committed to building on these proposals to reach a meaningful outcome that will prohibit subsidies that contribute to illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing and overfished stocks, and we further support targeted prohibitions on subsidies that benefit large, industrial fishing fleets as well as further constraints on subsidies that contribute to overcapacity and overfishing. We note recent proposals by some of the largest fishing nations and subsidizers, and call upon all Members to contribute to a successful, meaningful outcome, commensurate with their roles in the fisheries sector.

We further welcome the submission by 71 Members of updated subsidy notifications, pursuant to the Buenos Aires Ministerial Decision and in accordance with Article 25.3 of the Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures, in order to strengthen transparency in the fisheries subsidies negotiations. These updated subsidy notifications were due on 30 June 2019. We call upon those that have not yet notified to do so by the end of this year.

As we near the successful conclusion of these negotiations, we further recognize that appropriate and effective special and differential treatment may include transition periods for individual Members with specifically identified needs in the context of their implementation of disciplines under negotiation.

We commit to continue to work constructively with the Chair and Members under his leadership in order to lock in convergence, narrow differences and reach an agreement that represents new, meaningful constraints on harmful fisheries subsidies, which can serve as the WTO’s contribution to the long-term health and sustainability of our oceans.