Washington DC, 12 April 2023 (TDI): On 11 April, the United States (US) became the fourth member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) to formally accept the Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies, marking a pivotal moment for the landmark agreement.


About Fisheries Subsidies Agreement

The Fisheries Subsidies Agreement, adopted by consensus at the WTO’s 12th Ministerial Conference in June 2022, 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 also 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.

Pivotal support from US

US Trade Representative Ambassador Katherine Tai formally deposited the instrument of acceptance for the agreement, making the US the first among the large fishing nations to do so.

The Director-General of the WTO, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, received the instrument from Ambassador Tai in Washington DC and expressed her gratitude to the US for their support toward ocean sustainability.

She stated that the US leadership is vital to the WTO and to multilateralism and that she looks forward to continuing to work with the US to ensure that the WTO responds to the needs of people and the planet.

Furthermore, Ambassador Tai also noted that the agreement is the first ever multilateral trade agreement with environmental sustainability at its core, and that it will help improve the lives of fishers and workers in the US and elsewhere.

Also Read: WTO Members achieve milestone on Fisheries subsidies

To mention, the US has been a leader in protecting the environment from harmful and unsustainable practices, including those that impact our oceans and marine resources and the livelihoods that depend on them.

The agreement will come into effect once two-thirds of WTO members formally accept it. The US acceptance is seen as a pivotal increase in momentum among the membership to ensure this landmark agreement enters into force.

For the record, the three other WTO members that have formally accepted the Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies are Iceland, Norway, and New Zealand.

Thus, the US looks forward to building on this agreement with other WTO members, and to continue its leadership in protecting the world’s oceans and marine resources.