WTO fish sops pact draft doesn’t include India’s proposals, cuts exemption from 25 to 7 years.
In a setback for India, the draft agreement on fisheries subsidies at the World Trade Organization (WTO) did not include New Delhi’s plans to end non-specific fuel subsidies or those that are not aimed at a specific industry, like those given by the US and EU to their transportation and water sports and lead to illegal, unregulated, and uncontrolled fishing around the world.
India suggested that developing countries that don’t fish in far-off waters should be exempt from overfishing subsidy bans for 25 years. However, the draft only gives developing countries seven years to adjust.
It is called ‘distant water fishing’ to fish more than 200 nautical miles from the coast of a country. Officials said that India will stick to its position and talk about it at the ministerial conference that starts on Sunday.
‘Our idea for a general fuel subsidy has been thrown out. ‘It’s disappointing, but we’ll point this out and stay firm on our position,’ a government official said.
In India, subsidies for fishing include a sales tax rebate on diesel, financial help during a fishing ban, help buying new nets, boats, life jackets, and navigation systems, and building up marine infrastructure.
The text says, ‘A developing country member may grant or keep subsidies for fishing and fishing-related activities within its exclusive economic zone and the area of competence of a relevant RFMO/A for a maximum of seven years after the entry into force of this Agreement and up to the year 2030.’
Text in square brackets hasn’t been agreed on yet and is still being talked about. Also Read | Rural-AgriTech Hackathon will be held by Kerala Startup Mission on June 9, 2022.
Also, subsidies that were given or kept would not be punished for two more years after the period ended. This is similar to the peace clause that developing countries have for agriculture subsidies.
According to the draft, developing countries can give subsidies for fishing or fishing-related activities that help people with low incomes or few resources make a living up to 12 or 24 nautical miles from the baselines. This will also be something that ministers talk about during the four-day meeting.