The UK is very grateful to you, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and to Santiago Wills for convening this important discussion, and for driving negotiations forward to this point.
Concluding the Fisheries negotiation is a priority for the UK at MC12, and this Ministerial meeting needs to be a key milestone to get Members there.
Concluding this negotiation is important for delivering on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and protecting of course the long-term health of the world’s oceans, and also for proving that the multilateral trading system can work.
The UK has used the trade track of G7 presidency to drive progress with G7 Members and escalated the importance of achieving an outcome to Leader level.
Addressing your first question, the UK is happy to empower our Head of Delegation to contribute in the spirit of compromise. We agree that the current text is a solid foundation in which to do this.
As the Director General noted this morning, it is time for Members to demonstrate flexibility in the most challenging areas. This includes on Special and Differential Treatment (SDT).
The UK has already committed £500 million to supporting developing countries to protect the marine environment, engage in more sustainable fishing, and reduce poverty through the ‘Blue Planet Fund’.
We are considering what additional technical assistance we can provide to support developing countries in implementing the agreement.
To assist in this assessment, we are keen to deepen our understanding how any WTO fund would operate.
And now, addressing your second question, on SDT for poor and vulnerable artisanal fishers.
The UK strongly committed to SDT that supports those members with a genuine need.
The UK recognises the importance of the fisheries sector to the economic development of certain developing and least-developed countries.
However, it cannot be right that big players in the fisheries space benefit. And crucially, SDT cannot undermine the integrity of the agreement.
To achieve that balance, the UK agrees that a key component of SDT is to target the help to poor and vulnerable fishers.
The UK thinks we should focus SDT to Fishers operating closer to their shores, as these fishers are more likely to qualify as genuinely ‘poor and vulnerable’.
Applying this geographical focus would ensure that larger Fishers remain subject to the disciplines.
And crucially, it is important that SDT is used to support Members as they transition to more sustainable fishing regimes.
So I hope that Members will agree that this is the most pragmatic option.
Agreeing comprehensive transparency provisions will be crucial to ensuring such SDT provisions do not undermine the agreement.
The UK is delighted to attend today and wants to work with Members to find a conclusion to this crucial negotiation.
And finally, we are very grateful for the Chair and the WTO DG’s continued perseverance and commitment. Your energy and commitment has been vital to getting Members to this point.
- July 15, 2021 at 7:14 pm by Editor (displayed above)
- July 15, 2021 at 7:14 pm by Editor