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India Submits Fresh & Flexible Proposal for Fisheries at WTO

Pronami Chetia
Pronami Chetia

India has submitted a fresh proposal on capping fisheries subsidies at the World Trade Organisation (WTO), says the official reports. As per the official, the approach is different from its earlier demand seeking exemption for all developing countries from the prohibition of subsidies to vessels.

As per the revised proposal, large-scale industrial fishing vessels and larger developing countries meeting criteria such as per capita gross national income of over $5000 may not be exempted from the prohibition, said the reports of Business Line.

“At a recent meeting on fisheries, India stated that its revised proposal shows flexibility to move forward and conclude negotiations by June this year at the Kazakhstan Ministerial meeting of the WTO,” the official said. India’s proposal was a revision of its earlier one made in June 2019.

What’s the Earlier Proposal?

India had sought an exemption for all developing countries and Least Developed Countries (LDCs) from the prohibition of subsidies to vessels involved in unreported and unregulated fishing in its earlier proposal.

As per the revised proposal, for a developing country to be not eligible for the exemption on prohibition, it not only has to have a GNI per capita of over $5000 for three consecutive years but also have a more than 2 percent share in global marine capture and a less than 10 percent contribution of agriculture, forestry and fishing sectors in its GDP. It should also be engaging in the distant water fishing.

As per reports, WTO members are hopeful of reaching an agreement on curbing the ‘harmful’ fisheries subsidies estimated at $14 billion-$20.5 billion annually at the forthcoming Ministerial meeting in Kazakhstan. While all members agree that subsidies that are resulting in overfishing and destruction of marine life should be eliminated or reduced, there is no convergence of views on the areas of exemptions.

Moreover, developed countries like the US, Brazil, and Australia want to place subsidy caps on all countries with large fish stocks, like India and China, irrespective of their development status.

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