The Negotiating Group on Rules also includes negotiations on a specific mandate to “clarify and improve WTO disciplines on fisheries subsidies, taking into account the importance of this sector to developing countries” (Doha Ministerial Declaration, paragraph 28).
The mandate reflects the recognition that subsidies play a substantial role in promoting overcapacity of global fishing fleets and overfishing, threatening the sustainability of important fisheries stocks on which many communities (particularly in developing countries) depend.
At the Hong Kong Ministerial meeting in December 2005, Ministers noted the broad agreement that new disciplines should include “the prohibition of certain forms of fisheries subsidies that contribute to overcapacity and over-fishing,” as well as “appropriate and effective special and differential treatment for developing and least developed Members” (Hong Kong Ministerial Declaration, Annex D, paragraph 9).
The United States is a leader in pressing for a high level of ambition in this negotiation, including a prohibition of the most harmful subsidies. For more information click here.