For 25 years, India has been granted an exemption from subsidy cuts for developing nations not in distant water fishing.
For 25 years, India has been exempted from subsidy cuts for developing countries but not for deep-water fishing. According to ANI sources, India will seek specific ‘carve-outs’ at the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) 12th Ministerial Conference, which will be held in Geneva from June 12 to 15, to provide unique and differential treatment for developing countries that are not engaged in remote water fishing.
According to an official source, India stressed at a WTO meeting that developing countries that do not fish in distant waters should be completely exempt from overfishing subsidy prohibitions for at least 25 years because the sector is still in its infancy.
The source said this period will also allow policies in developing countries to catch up with those in developed countries. According to the ANI news agency, India will solicit “press reviews” during the 12th Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization (WTO), which will be held in Geneva from June 12 to 15, to provide unique and differential treatment for developing countries that are not engaged in the remote water sector.
According to ANI, India also wants a 25-year exemption from the prohibition on overfishing subsidies for these countries so that they can develop their severely underdeveloped remote water fishing sector. Distant water fishing is defined as fishing beyond 200 nautical miles from a country’s seashores.
The issue is part of a draft WTO agreement to reduce harmful fishing subsidies. According to the source, countries that have developed industrial fishing should hire more obligations based on the concept of common but differentiated responsibility (CBDR) and prohibit harmful subsidies. India raised these concerns at last week’s meeting in Geneva.
To protect the livelihoods of poor fishermen and address national food security concerns, India requires special and differential remedies, as well as the necessary policy space for developing the fishing sector and enough time to put in place processes to enforce overcapacity and overfishing disciplines.
which are illegal, underreported, unregulated and At the same time, it suggests that large subsidizers eliminate their dole-outs for fishing in areas beyond their exclusive economic zones (200 nautical miles) within the next 25 years, paving the way for developing countries to follow suit.
The negotiations were chaired by Colombian Ambassador Santiago Wills, who dubbed it “Fish Week” to settle disputes over the proposed global deal to reduce harmful fishing subsidies ahead of the 12th Ministerial Conference (MC12) next month. At the meeting, India also called for horizontal fuel subsidies to be included in the scope of this agreement because the objective of this agreement is based on a sustainable development goal (SDG 14.6) rather than the principle of trade distortion enshrined in the agreement on subsidies and countervailing measures in force.
The per capita fishing subsidies of most developing countries are negligible compared to advanced fishing nations. Countries like India, which have not yet developed large fishing capacities, cannot be expected to give up on their future policy. Some members have received significant subsidies to overexploit fishing resources and are permitted to engage in unsustainable fishing.
According to sources, India requires special and differential treatment to protect poor local fishermen’s living standards and address national food safety concerns. The policy space needed to develop the fishing sector is sufficient to put in place systems to enforce overcapacity and overfishing disciplines that are improper, unreported, unregulated, and unsustainable. The fishing agreement should be seen in the context of existing international treaties and maritime regulations.
The sovereign rights of coastal states to explore and manage living resources within their maritime jurisdiction, as enshrined in international treaties, must be protected. Furthermore, India wants artisanal and low-income fishers to be exempt from subsidy cuts for at least 200 nautical miles (NM), rather than 12 NM as stated in the current chair’s text.
Members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) are negotiating a proposed agreement on fisheries subsidies. Concerning India’s commitment to conclude the negotiations, the source stated that environmental protection has been ingrained in the Indian ethos for centuries and has been repeatedly emphasized in various international forums.
The goal is to discipline sustainable fishing subsidies and eliminate IUU (illegal, unreported, and unregulated) fishing subsidies, which contribute to overcapacity and overfishing. The 12th Ministerial Conference of the WTO, the highest decision-making body, will be held in Geneva from 12 to 15 June.
India has repeatedly stated that it wants to finalize a WTO agreement on fisheries subsidies because irrational benefits and overfishing by many countries are harming domestic fishermen and their livelihood.
India is committed to completing the negotiations as long as it allows for equitable growth and freedom in developing future fishing capacities without locking members into disadvantageous arrangements in perpetuity. The country wants a fair and balanced outcome because it supports marginalized small-scale fishers who depend on the sector for a living.
To finalize an agreement at the last minuteWTO, member countries negotiate through a text. The WTO negotiations on fisheries subsidies began in 2001 in Doha to clarify and improve the current WTO rules on fisheries subsidies.
We reaffirmed our strong opposition to non-specific fuel subsidies; a longer transition period until 25 years of special and differential treatment for developing countries; a ban on deep-sea fishing subsidies; protection for artisanal and small-scale fisheries; and exemption of up to the maritime limit of 200 nautical miles.
Beginning on May 30, 2022, the negotiations would take place daily for a week to reach an agreement. Compared to wealthy countries that provide billions of dollars in subsidies to their fishermen, India’s subsidy is only around Rs 1,000 crore.
China, the EU, the USA, Korea, and Japan provide 7 USD each. 2 billion in subsidies per year; USD 3.8 billion, USD 3.4 billion, USD 3.18 billion, and USD 2.8 billion, respectively. India mainly provides subsidies for fuel, boats, and other items.
edited and proofread by nikita sharma