WTO ministers to convene in July to consider new draft text on fisheries subsidies

Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala to host a ministerial meeting with aim of concluding fisheries negotiations

June 9, 2021—The World Trade Organization (WTO) will hold a ministerial meeting on 15 July to review an advanced negotiating text with the aim to reach an agreement to end subsidies that drive overfishing. WTO Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has urged heads of delegations to remain engaged and flexible to conclude negotiations.

The chair of the negotiating group, Ambassador Santiago Wills of Colombia, tabled a new draft text in May which sets out areas of agreement and issues that remain to be resolved. The draft consolidated document reflects the outcomes of several sessions of constructive dialogue between Members in March and April, such as progress on consolidating the list of subsidies that would be presumptively prohibited to address overfishing and overcapacity.

“Concluding these negotiations is a top priority for this organization, not only for the fisheries, but also for the WTO system. We simply cannot afford to fail here,” said Director-General Okonjo-Iweala.

UN Sustainable Development Goal 14.6 tasks WTO negotiators with prohibiting fisheries subsidies which contribute to overcapacity and overfishing and eliminating subsidies that contribute to illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.

  June 9, 2021