Agri Business

Fishery subsidies issue to be in focus at WTO meet in Kazakhstan

PTI New Delhi | Updated on February 12, 2020

Issues related to fisheries subsidy, an important subject for India, will figure prominently in the WTO’s 12th Ministerial Conference meet in June at Kazakhstan, an official said.

The Ministerial Conference is the highest decision-making body of the 164-member World Trade Organisation (WTO).

Trade ministers of all the member countries participate in the deliberations. The 12th Ministerial Conference will take place from June 8-11 this year at Nur-Sultan in Kazakhstan.

“This time fishery subsidies will figure prominently in the meeting. Although talks on the matter are not moving at a healthy pace, developed nations want a significant reduction in fishery subsidies,” the official said.

The official added India wants an equitable and balanced outcome in the negotiations as the country provides support to its small and marginal fishermen who depend on the sector for sustenance.

Unlike rich nations which provide billions of dollars of subsidies to their fishermen, India’s subsidy amounts to only about ₹770 crore. The government provides subsidy on items like fuel and boat.

Unlike India, fishing community of developed countries use highly mechanised boats for fishing, which are called mother boats wherein they have processing units too. Developed countries want to intensify negotiations on fisheries subsidies so that an agreement can be clinched at the Kazakhstan meeting.

“As a developing country, India provides minimal subsidies to fisherfolk. A WTO agreement should consider needs such as these,” the official said.

Published on February 12, 2020

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