Ahmed Abdulrahman Al Jarman and Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

The UAE has accepted the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) agreement on fisheries subsidies, making it the seventh member to join international efforts to curb illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.

Acceptances from two-thirds of WTO members are needed for the Agreement to come into effect. UAE Ambassador Ahmed Abdulrahman Al Jarman presented his government’s instrument of acceptance to Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.

DG Okonjo-Iweala said: “I am grateful for the United Arab Emirates' formal acceptance of the Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies. As host of the upcoming 13th Ministerial Conference to be held in February 2024, and with its affirmation of this historic agreement for healthier oceans, the UAE is providing invaluable support for the work of the WTO and its continuing efforts to ensure the multilateral trading system contributes to sustainable development.”

Ambassador Al Jarman said: “Aware of the harmful impact of overfishing and overcapacity and the urgent need to protect oceans from the widespread depletion of the world's fish stocks, the UAE has formally accepted this long-awaited and historical Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies.”

“The UAE attaches great importance to environmental sustainability, as we are preparing to host two landmark events: the 28th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP28) to the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, November 30 – December  12, 2023) and the 13th Ministerial Conference of the WTO, end of February 2024. In this regard, we expect a meaningful outcome on trade and sustainability in Abu Dhabi; we therefore call other countries to deposit their instruments of acceptance so as to reach two thirds of the membership, for the benefit of humanity,” he said.

Adopted by consensus at the WTO's 12th Ministerial Conference (MC12) held in Geneva on June 12-17, 2022, the Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies sets new binding, multilateral rules to curb harmful subsidies, which are a key factor in the widespread depletion of the world's fish stocks.  In addition, the Agreement recognizes the needs of developing and least-developed countries (LDCs) and establishes a fund to provide technical assistance and capacity building to help them implement the obligations.

The Agreement prohibits support for illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, bans support for fishing overfished stocks, and ends subsidies for fishing on the unregulated high seas. Members also agreed at MC12 to continue negotiations on outstanding issues, with a view to making recommendations by MC13, to be held in February 2024 in Abu Dhabi, for additional provisions that would further enhance the disciplines of the Agreement. – TradeArabia News Service