WTO breaks a 7-year negotiating drought, agrees on all issues including fisheries subsidies



The World Trade Organization’s members cleared a package of trade deals, including pledges on health, reform and food security, struck after more than five days of hard negotiations.
Representatives of the 164 countries, including India, cheered after the package was passed before Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala addressed them early on Friday. “The package of agreements you have reached will make a difference to the lives of people around the world,” she said. “The outcomes demonstrate that the WTO is in fact capable of responding to emergencies of our time.”
For the first time subsides on overfishing, deep sea fishing and Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing were addressed through the proposed pact. “On India’s instance sovereign sights on EEZ (Exclusive Economic Zones) have been firmly established. It is really a big achievement,” PTI, quoting a source reported, adding that principal stakeholders who have benefited from these “historic decisions” taken by the 12th ministerial conference of the WTO are fishermen, farmers, food security, multilateralism, and trade and business, particularly digital economy and MSMEs.

It was also agreed to find a final solution to the issue of continuation of moratorium on imposing customs duties on electronic transmission of goods by the next ministerial conference of the WTO or not later than March 2024.
One of the sources termed this as the most successful conference in the history of the WT0 as it has revitalised the organisation.
“It has restored multilateralism. India took a major leadership role and was the voice of the developing world and the LDCs (Least Developed Countries). The developing countries were building consensus and providing solutions to break every deadlock from time to time during the different sessions and meetings,” they added.
A decision on all the issues reflects camaraderie between developed and developing member countries.
“Great team effort was there while agreeing on the issues. Concerns of the ACP (African, Caribbean and Pacific countries) region were fully addressed on the fisheries decision,” the sources said.
They added that the Indian delegation, which was headed by commerce and industry minister Piyush Goyal, was continuously getting the guidance and direction from Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The focus of the Indian team was to protect the interests of fishermen and farmers.
These decisions also send a strong signal that the world can come together on critical areas like food security and humanitarian crises like the pandemic.
With PTI inputs
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