International Trade Working Paper

The International Trade Working Paper series promptly documents and disseminates reviews, analytical work and think-pieces to facilitate the exchange of ideas and to stimulate debates and discussions on issues that are of interest to developing countries in general and Commonwealth members in particular. The issues considered in the papers may be evolving in nature, leading to further work and refinement at a later stage.


Small Vulnerable Economies’ Fisheries – Initial Thoughts

The discussion on improving disciplines on fisheries subsidies and making a contribution towards sustainable fishing and managing global fisheries has been ongoing at the World Trade Organization (WTO) since the WTO Doha Ministerial Conference held in 2001. In 2005, the WTO Hong Kong Ministerial Declaration gave a mandate on negotiations on fisheries subsidies aimed at strengthening disciplines on fisheries subsidies and prohibiting certain forms of subsidies that lead to overcapacity and over-fishing. Small vulnerable economies (SVEs) have strongly been involved in these discussions, particularly in view of the implications for their economies of the threat of certain forms of fisheries subsidies to the sustainability of fishing. Negotiations on fisheries subsidies have intensified as WTO members seek an outcome at the 11th Ministerial Conference (MC11). To participate meaningfully in the negotiations, SVEs have to identify issues of interest to them and ensure that they are captured in the outcome at MC11. This briefing paper assesses the current proposals on the negotiating table to determine whether or not they take into account the interests of SVEs. It concludes by suggesting strategic options on how SVEs can structure approaches to negotiations on strengthening disciplines on subsidies in the fisheries sector.


Keywords: Sustainable development goals, 2030 Agenda, public policy, free trade agreements, impact assessments
JEL: F18: International Economics / Trade / Trade and Environment; Q22: Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics / Renewable Resources and Conservation / Renewable Resources and Conservation: Fishery; Aquaculture; H23: Public Economics / Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue / Taxation and Subsidies: Externalities; Redistributive Effects; Environmental Taxes and Subsidies; F02: International Economics / General / International Economic Order and Integration; F13: International Economics / Trade / Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations
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