WTO fisheries subsidy: India insists on ‘polluter pays’ principle

India has caught to its demand that sure creating international locations be exempted from commitments to remove fisheries subsidies regardless of failure of World Trade Organisation (WTO) members to achieve an settlement on the matter this year. It has additionally mentioned that ‘polluter pays’ precept ought to be relevant in any settlement referring to sustainability together with fisheries.

“Those who have provided huge subsidies leading to overfishing and overcapacity should take higher cuts in subsidy and capacity,” India’s statement on the Trade Negotiations Committee (TNC) delivered earlier this week by Ambassador & Permanent Representative to the WTO mentioned. “Common but differentiated responsibility and polluter pays principle need to be applied here,” it added.

‘Target missed’

On Monday, the chair of the WTO Negotiating Group on Rules (NGR) Santiago Wills formally introduced that the year-end goal to achieve an settlement on elimination of dangerous fisheries subsidies won’t be met. 

While he principally blamed the disruptions attributable to the Covid-19 pandemic for the delay, the rigid positions held by members on the difficulty of particular & differential therapy for creating international locations was one massive motive for the dearth of consensus on a pact. “Meetings are now being planned keeping in mind several convening opportunities in 2021,” he mentioned.

The proposed pact on being negotiated goals to remove “harmful” fisheries subsidies estimated at $14- 20.5 billion yearly. The subsidies which are being focused embrace sops for fishing vessels, nets, gasoline and different inputs provided to poor fishers in India. At the TNC meeting, India’s consultant thanked the NGR chair for bringing within the idea of debt reimbursement that’s overdue.

Debt reimbursement

“It is an established principle that debt is repaid by respective debtors in proportion to the debt taken. Debt repayment can’t be assigned to all in a uniform manner. S&DT in the final outcome must be effective and appropriate having regard to the development needs, livelihood and food security concerns of millions of small fishers of developing countries including LDCs,” India’s statement highlighted.

India, which has been pushing for creating international locations to get exemption from subsidy cuts, had submitted a proposal stating that these creating international locations whose GNI per capita is above $5,000 for 3 consecutive years, have above 2 per cent share in world marine seize, and the share of agriculture, forestry and fishing sectors is lower than 10 per cent of its GDP, shouldn’t get exemption.

New Delhi’s standards would consequence within the exclusion of China from the exemptions. But a number of WTO members have opposed India’s proposal.

Note: This article is a re-post of the original posted on the NewsWrap website.