India seeks WTO deal to protect fishermen

Pic courtesy: Fisheries dept, GOI

New Delhi, July 15 , 2021 : India has asserted ,at the WTO Ministerial Meeting, for a multilateral deal on fisheries, ensuring rights of the developing countries which are being hurt by irrational subsidies and overfishing by several countries.

Representing India at the policy making Ministerial Meeting of the World Trade Organisation, on July 16, 2021 Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal expressed his disappointment that the Membership is still short of finding the right balance and fairness in the agreement.

A Commerce Ministry statement quoted Goyal cautioning against repeating the mistake during the Uruguay Round three decades ago that allowed unequal and trade-distorting entitlements for select developed country Members, particularly in agriculture.He pointed out that it is essential that big subsidizers take greater responsibility to reduce their subsidies and fishing capacities, in accordance with the principles of ‘Polluter Pays’ and ‘Common but Differentiated Responsibilities’.

He said that any agreement must recognize that different countries are at different stages of development and that current fishing arrangements reflect their current economic capacities.

He said that limiting Special & Differential Treatment (S&DT) to poor and artisanal fishermen only is neither appropriate nor affordable, and is not acceptable. S&DT is required to not only protect livelihoods of poor fishermen but also to address food security concerns, have necessary policy space for developing the fisheries sector and the need for larger time period for any transition..

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