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India wants 25-year exemption from prohibition on overfishing subsidies for these countries: Report

India wants to provide unique and differential treatment for developing nations that are not engaged in remote water fishing. (ANI PHOTO.) (HT_PRINT)Premium
India wants to provide unique and differential treatment for developing nations that are not engaged in remote water fishing. (ANI PHOTO.) (HT_PRINT)

According to ANI sources, India would seek certain ‘carve-outs’ at the World Trade Organization's (WTO) 12th Ministerial Conference, which will be held in Geneva from June 12 to 15, to provide unique and differential treatment for developing nations that are not engaged in remote water fishing.

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According to the ANI news agency, India would seek certain "carve-outs" at the World Trade Organization's (WTO) 12th Ministerial Conference, to be held in Geneva from June 12 to 15, to provide unique and differential treatment for developing nations that are not engaged in remote water fishing. India also wants a 25-year exemption from the prohibition on overfishing subsidies for these countries so that they can build their severely underdeveloped remote water fishing sector, ANI sources said.

According to ANI sources, India requires special and differential treatment in order to protect the livelihoods of poor fishermen and address national food security concerns, as well as the necessary policy space for developing the fisheries sector and sufficient time to put in place systems to enforce overcapacity and overfishing disciplines, which are illegal, unreported, unregulated, and overfished.

At the same time, it suggests big subsidisers abolish their dole-outs for fishing in areas beyond their exclusive economic zones (200 nautical miles) within these 25 years, which will then set the stage for developing nations to follow suit.

In comparison to advanced fishing nations, most developing nations' per capita fisheries subsidies are negligible. Countries like India, which have yet to develop big fishing capacities, cannot be expected to give up their future policy space because certain members granted significant subsidies to overexploit fisheries resources and are allowed to engage in unsustainable fishing.

According to sources, India requires special and differential treatment in order to protect the livelihoods of poor fishermen and address national food security concerns, as well as the necessary policy space for developing the fisheries sector and sufficient time to put in place systems to enforce overcapacity and overfishing disciplines, which are illegal, unreported, unregulated, and overfished.

According to ANI sources, the fisheries agreement must be viewed in the framework of current international agreements and maritime regulations. Coastal states' sovereign rights to explore and manage living resources within their maritime jurisdiction, as embodied in international treaties, must be safeguarded.

On India's commitment to conclude the negotiations, the source said that it is worth noting that the protection of the environment has been ingrained in the Indian ethos for ages and has been repeatedly emphasized in various international forums.

India is committed to concluding the negotiations so long as it provides space for equitable growth and freedom in developing fishing capacities for the future without locking members into disadvantageous arrangements in perpetuity.

India is actively participating in the focused discussions held at the WTO. The last week of discussions and negotiations took place, where India participated in a few small group discussions and bilateral meetings with the EU, China, Australia and Japan.

"We have strongly reiterated our position on non-specific fuel subsidies, a higher transition period of up to 25 years under special and differential treatment for developing countries, prohibition of subsidies for distant water fishing, protection for artisanal and small-scale fisheries and exemption up to the maritime limit 200NM. Starting from May 30, 2022 the negotiations would continue daily for a week to reach an outcome," as per ANI sources.

(With ANI inputs)

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