Revisiting WTO Fisheries Subsidies Negotiations

Author(s):Youngjeen Cho

Fisheries subsidies negotiation was added to the negotiation agenda of the DDA largely by the concern for the depletion of fishery stocks. Some members, in particular, the Friends of Fish group countries, claimed that over-fishing and overcapacity caused by various fisheries subsidies program have resulted in the depletion of fishery stocks. Therefore, they argued that new disciplines should be introduced to address the situation. In 2007, after more than five years of negotiations, the chairman of the Rules Negotiations Group circulated a consolidated text. However, the negotiations have hardly made progress since then. This paper examines whether the Rule Negotiating Group chair’s text is legally and practically appropriate to serve as a basis for the fisheries subsidies negotiations. In order to address the question, this paper presents the brief history of fisheries subsidies negotiations at the WTO. Then, it analyzes critical issues of the Rule Negotiating Group chair’s text. It also explores the consolidated text of the TPP negotiations. Based on the analysis, it concludes that the basic concept and the principle of the chair’s text are inconsistent with those of the ASCM, and that the structure of the text does not conform those of the ASCM and other WTO agreements. Likewise, the TPP text bears similar problems. Therefore, it is highly questionable whether WTO members and TPP parties can actually achieve the goal to conserve fishery resources. WTO members as well as TPP parties should try to address these problems, so that they can make real progress in negotiations.


Journal: Beijing Law Review
DOI: 10.4236/blr.2015.61002 (PDF)
Paper Id: 53414 (metadata)

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