At the WTO, there will be a Face-off between Developed and Developing Countries

As the WTO attempts to negotiate a fisheries agreement, a clear gap appears. India has stated unequivocally that the developed world is responsible for the loss of marine resources and that it will not compromise on subsidies to its fishermen.

At the 12th World Trade Organization (WTO) ministerial meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, the stage is set for a showdown between developing and developed countries.

As the WTO attempts to negotiate a fisheries agreement, a clear gap appears. India has stated unequivocally that the developed world is responsible for the loss of marine resources and that it will not compromise on subsidies to its fishermen.

“We are committed to protecting rights of our traditional fishermen, we will not let any impact on their livelihood, there will be no stoppage in subsidies they are getting, this is India’s commitment and India will not bend on this” Brajendra Navnit, India’s permanent representative to the World Trade Organization, said ahead of the official start of the 12th Ministerial Meeting.

Last year, on July 15th, all of the ministers met to discuss this issue. Representative ministers from 82 countries, out of a total of 120, backed India on future policy space, recognising the concept of common plus differentiated responsibility, demonstrating that India has the support of developing countries.

“Coalition of developing countries they know that they have not depleted these resources so obviously their interest is protecting its small and traditional fishermen, they would not like any discipline in their own water, they seek to have policy scope carve out when they grow physically,” said Brajendra Navnit.

“They have not engaged in distant water fishing and have restricted them to fishing sustainably in their own water for livelihood purposes, and they do not want to take future responsibility because, as someone said here, they are not part of the problem; the problem is created by those who engage in distant water fishing by exhausting their own resources. As a result, these countries would wish to keep a safety net for their small and traditional fishermen, who should not be subject to any subsidy discipline regime when fishing on their own waters “He went on to say.

Because poor countries feel wealthy countries are the bigger participants in deep-sea fishing, and they have given subside over several generations, consensus on fishing appears unlikely until developed countries bring something credible to the table.

According to the World Trade Organization’s website, its members are now debating rules to prevent subsidies that endanger the sustainability of fishing in order to secure the long-term use and conservation of marine resources. World governments have entrusted the WTO with the vital responsibility of establishing rules on fisheries subsidies.

Fish stocks are in danger of collapsing in many parts of the world, according to the latest data from the UN Food and Agriculture Organization. According to a WTO information sheet, 34% of global stocks are overfished, up from 10% in 1974. This means that they are being exploited at a rate that prevents the fish population from replenishing itself.

On Monday, the thematic sessions will begin with a discussion of the TRIPS waiver proposal and the WTO reaction to the epidemic and future pandemics, followed by a session on food security.

Fisheries and agriculture will be examined on Tuesday, while WTO changes and the topic of a customs tariff moratorium for electronic transmission will be discussed on Wednesday.

The WTO summit will also have an open agenda.

Piyush Goyal, the Minister of Commerce and Industry, is in town for the World Trade Organization meeting. Today, he will attend a closed-door session on threats to the multilateral trade system, where he will also give an address. Goyal will continue to attend the reception thrown by Kazakhstan’s chair.