Following 21 years of negotiations, the Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies has been reached and endorsed by the World Trade Organization twelfth Ministerial Conference.
Fiji being the Pacific Trade Ministers Chair led the final green room negotiations to get the Agreement over the line.
Minister for Commerce and Trade, Faiyaz Koya, led the powerful 62 countries of the African, Caribbean and Pacific grouping in the final 12-hour negotiations to finalise a fisheries deal.
It took into account the development needs and unique situation of the least developed and developing states, including the small island states.
Koya says the Fisheries Subsidies Agreement negotiations started 21 years ago, to discipline harmful subsidies that encouraged overfishing, and illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.
He added they they’ve ensured that the decision at MC12 captures the need to continue to improve the disciplines in the Agreement, as the industry is evolving rapidly.
Koya says what is not considered a harmful subsidy today can become a problem in a year’s time.
Therefore, he says the WTO members will not have to wait another two decades to correct things.
Koya stated the disciplines will be further strengthened within four years of the entry into force of the agreement.
The twelfth Ministerial Conference was held approximately five years after the last one held in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 2017.
It was critical for MC12 to be held in-person to allow for Ministers from the 164 member countries to discuss issues of utmost importance to the multilateral trading system.