After two decades of dialogue, trade ministers from 164 countries broke today a last-minute deal on fisheries subsidies. Despite India's blocking pressures, which threatened to derail the multilateral agreement, WTO managed to sign a historic treaty to curb harmful fisheries subsidies. Europêche welcomes the introduction of fishing disciplines globally, similarly to what was done in the EU in the early 2000’s. The sector appreciates the decision of WTO not to extend the scope of the disciplines to cover non-specific fuel subsidies. However, the fleet considers the section that refers to fishing in the high seas to be very negative, since it is going to cause seriously harm in part of the EU long-distance fleet that operates in the Southwest Atlantic.
WTO negotiations on fisheries subsidies are now entering the final stage. After two decades of dialogue, trade ministers from 164 countries are resolved to secure an agreement ahead of the ministerial conference of 15 July this year. The European fishing industry represented by Europêche fully sustains the need to curb harmful subsidies globally, similarly to what has been done in the EU in the early 2000’s. In this direction, the fishing sector calls on EU institutions and Member states to defend the public aid system established under EU legislation, including the newly adopted Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFAF). Likewise, the sector urges the EU not to succumb to external pressure and defend fuel tax relief schemes. The opposite will drive the fleet to ruin.
Europêche has presented today a request to the European Commission for the initiation of an anti-dumping investigation concerning imports of tuna processed loins - mainly skipjack - originating in China, which are causing serious economic damage to the European fishing industry. The information furnished by Europêche to the European authorities discloses the existence of unlawful aids and tax breaks allegedly granted by the Chinese Administration to the Chinese exporters of both tuna loins and canned tuna. The European fishing sector urges the EU to eliminate any present and future tariff derogations granted to tuna loins, which mainly come from China, to mitigate further market and economic disruption.
As part of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) agenda, the World Trade Organisation (WTO) has been given a prominent role to regulate and discipline global fisheries subsidies. The main goal is to eliminate IUU1 subsidies and prohibit certain forms of fisheries subsidies that contribute to overcapacity and overfishing by 2020. In order to speed up the complex intergovernmental negotiations, a High Level Event on Trade, Climate Change and Oceans Economy took place in Geneva this week, where Europêche presented the huge progress made in Europe, to eliminate harmful subsidies and secure the sustainable and responsible management of fisheries resources.