Papua New Guinea’s Trade Minister Richard Maru Tuesday asserts the nation’s position at the WTO 13th Ministerial Conference in Abu Dhabi.

Maru addressed concerns on Fisheries subsidies, saying “The Decision made in Paragraph 4 of the MC12 and the mandate is very clear, the need to have a comprehensive agreement that has disciplines on harmful subsidies that contribute to overcapacity and overfishing (OCOF) accompanied by appropriate and effective special and differential treatment with the mandate,” he said at the conference.

He expressed dissatisfaction with the current text, which focuses more on fisheries management and notification, putting undue burden on developing countries.

Highlighting transparency concerns, Maru reiterated, “Transparency obligations should not be imposed as conditionalities for invoking SDT as well as the notification of access agreements/arrangements which we deem to be commercially sensitive.”

He stressed the importance of effective special and differential treatment to assist developing and vulnerable countries in growing their fishing industries.

On Agriculture, Maru emphasised the significance of discussions for food security and policy space.

He urged constructive engagement, saying, “We call upon all Members to engage constructively in the negotiations to address longstanding divergences and work towards substantive outcomes in agriculture.”

Expressing concern about the lack of progress on Development, Maru emphasised the importance of Special and Differential Treatment (SDT) for developing countries and LDCs.

He urged Members to progress G-90 proposals beyond MC13 for better integration into the multilateral trading system.

On E-Commerce, Papua New Guinea supported discussions on the work programme, especially addressing the digital divide faced by many developing countries.

Maru also backed the extension of the Moratorium on Customs Duties on Electronic Transmission until MC14.

Maru also expressed support for ongoing WTO Reform, emphasising its relevance, fairness, and equity to meet the needs of member countries.

He urged all members to ensure the conference’s outcomes reflect their passion, commitment, and credibility.

“Let us not return empty-handed,” he said.