The E15 engages key stakeholders – trade and investment policy makers, business and thought leaders – in policy dialogues in Geneva and around the world to explore and help validate ideas, align interests and strengthen the impetus for change.

Dialogues with WTO Delegates

Advancing SDG 14.6 through Fisheries Subsidies Disciplines in the WTO: Options on Institutional Issues

05 October 2017 , Geneva, Switzerland

On 5 October, ICTSD organised an informal roundtable dialogue aimed at examining means to advance Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14.6 through fisheries subsidies in the WTO ahead of the 11th WTO Ministerial Conference in Buenos Aires and beyond, with particular attention paid to institutional issues surrounding disciplining fisheries subsidies.

Recent proposals tabled in the WTO Rules Negotiating Group on fisheries subsidies include suggestions for additional information that could be included in Members’ notifications of their fisheries subsidies, for example regarding the conservation and management measures in place in the fishery for which the notified subsidy is provided. Discussion of this and related points has generated questions around how feasible and practicable it would be for WTO Members to provide this information.

A further institutional issue that has not yet been explored in much depth is the question of what legal form the final disciplines could take; options could include formal amendment to the Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures or a Ministerial decision or declaration.

This roundtable helped to build convergence by providing a neutral space for informal dialogue among leading WTO negotiators and selected fisheries experts on the specific challenges under discussion. Issues covered included the feasibility of the various additional elements of information suggested for notification and how the disciplines could provide incentives for notification of this information towards improved transparency of fisheries subsidies. Discussion also covered the options that exist for the legal form of new rules on fisheries subsidies and the practical implications of the different forms that an agreement might take.

The meeting followed on from previous E15 workshops on disciplining fisheries subsidies, and formed part of a series of E15 dialogues on different topics being organised over the course of the year.