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Statement by Ambassador Shea: WTO Fisheries Subsidies Negotiations
October 9, 2020

WTO Fisheries Subsidies Negotiations

Heads of Delegation Meeting
Statement by Ambassador Dennis C. Shea

October 9, 2020

Thank you, Santiago, for your report and reflections on the week, as well as sharing some of your plans for the intersessional period leading up to the November meetings. The United States continues to support your process, which includes reviewing parts of the text in manageable pieces.

That said, I regret to hear from my team that over the course of the past week, many delegations continued to focus more on seeking ways to preserve maximum freedom to subsidize unsustainable fishing in the future, rather than meeting our objective to develop comprehensive and effective disciplines on fisheries subsidies.

We cannot progress and meet our deadline if the RNG loses sight of this objective, and rather falls more deeply into a debating society oblivious to the real world effects of delaying a meaningful outcome.

Hence I would urge you to undertake more consultations with smaller groups of members, including one-on-one confessionals on discrete issues, to try to unlock progress in these negotiations. These groups may not be considered representative in every case, and may not even include us, but this will allow for discussions to remain technical and focused. We trust you to share any potential drafting improvements with the rest of us for our consideration in an advanced and timely manner, so as to allow thoughtful analysis prior to discussion among a wider group.

As you gather your thoughts on next steps for the draft consolidated text, including whether you will release a revised version which may be a helpful next step, we believe you have enough information to expand upon your placeholder to include some version of our joint proposed text on Notification and Transparency.

It is cosponsored by eight Members and supported by others as a basis for future work.

Almost all Members have identified the importance of transparency in the success of any future agreement.

We agree that the provisions and language may need to be revisited as the prohibitions evolve. But that is not a reason to exclude its contents in the draft consolidation in order to be considered as we proceed to negotiate.

During the upcoming intersessional period, the United States will continue to do our part to contribute constructively to move the negotiations forward.

We look forward to continuing to engage with you, Chair, and all Members, to get down to business and meet our mandate. As I said when we last met as HoDs, we don’t have any more time to waste.