WTO chief sees fisheries subsidies deal ratified before year's end

2024-03-13 18:59:21

Market Screener

ABUJA, March 13 (Reuters) - The World Trade Organization's director-general said on Wednesday she was hopeful a fisheries subsidies agreement would be ratified this year by the required number of members, despite the disappointment of not finalising the deal at a recently concluded ministerial conference.

Environmentalists say knocking out billions of dollars in subsidies that promote unsustainable fishing is the single most important thing countries can do to help reverse declining stocks.

"I'm really pushing, and we're all pushing, at the WTO to see whether we can get this ratified this year. I'm very pleased with the pace of ratification," Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said in an interview on Wednesday in Nigeria, her home country.

"I'm asking people: 'Let's do the ratification before my birthday in June as a birthday present'. So let's see, but I think this year we will get it."

The fisheries agreement, aimed at removing $22 billion in harmful subsidies supporting illegal fishing, has seen significant support from member countries.

So far, 71 WTO members have formally accepted the agreement and 39 more formal acceptances are needed to reach the two-thirds of the membership threshold for it to come into effect.

Okonjo-Iweala addressed concerns raised by India and South Africa about the proposed Investment Facilitation for Development (IFD) Agreement, which seeks to simplify red tape, improve investment climate and encourage foreign direct investment.

Both countries filed formal objections against the IFD Agreement, agreed by 127 members, which was put forward by Chile and South Korea, with a strong backing from China.

"It's a good agreement and there are so many developing countries that are members of this, and I think they really want it and as a result that will give momentum to get it done," Okonjo-Iweala said.

India and South Africa have asked that further discussions should continue at WTO General Council in Geneva. (Reporting by Elisha Bala-Gbogbo; Editing by Alex Richardson)

2024-03-13 News