Fiji deposited its instrument of acceptance of the Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies on 24 October.
Ambassador Luke Daunivalu presented Fiji’s instrument of acceptance to Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.
DG Okonjo-Iweala said: “We are absolutely delighted that Fiji has presented its acceptance of the Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies. It is the first Pacific Island developing nation to do so, and we are confident it will not be the last. We hope this action will encourage not only the Pacific but also all other members that have not yet deposited to do so. We are delighted that Fiji took this important step during our senior officials meeting.”
Ambassador Daunivalu said: “We are so pleased that Fiji can finally deposit its instrument of acceptance of the WTO Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies. It’s a testament of our commitment to disciplining subsidies for illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing. It’s also a fulfilment of the promise made by our Deputy Prime Minister Manoa Seru Kamikamica when he was here some months ago during Fiji’s fourth Trade Policy Review. Hopefully this paves the way for other members who have yet to ratify to do so, not just from the Pacific but from other parts of the world.”
Fiji’s instrument of acceptance brings the total number of WTO members that have formally accepted the Agreement to 52. This is nearly half of what is needed for the Agreement to come into effect (two-thirds of the WTO membership).
Adopted by consensus at the WTO’s 12th Ministerial Conference (MC12), held in Geneva on 12-17 June 2022, the Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies sets new, binding, multilateral rules to curb harmful subsidies, which are a key factor in the widespread depletion of the world’s fish stocks. In addition, the Agreement recognises the needs of developing and least-developed countries and establishes a fund to provide technical assistance and capacity building to help them implement the obligations.
The Agreement prohibits support for illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, bans support for fishing overfished stocks and ends subsidies for fishing on the unregulated high seas.
Members also agreed at MC12 to continue negotiations on outstanding issues, with a view to making recommendations by MC13, to be held in February 2024 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, for additional provisions that would further enhance the disciplines of the Agreement.