On January 20, 2023, Switzerland became the first member of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) to ratify the Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies. The agreement prohibits harmful subsidies for marine wild capture fishing and makes an important contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations. Switzerland’s swift ratification will help the agreement to soon enfold its positive effects. Federal Councillor Guy Parmelin deposited the country’s instrument of acceptance with WTO Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala on the sidelines of the WEF annual meeting in Davos.
Negotiations on fisheries subsidies were concluded on June 17, 2022 at the 12th WTO Ministerial Conference. The Federal Council approved the Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies for Switzerland on November 16, 2022. The agreement represents a major step forward for the sustainable use of marine resources. It prohibits subsidies for illegal, unreported and unregulated marine wild capture fishing, as well as for fishing on overfished stocks and for fishing on the unregulated high seas.
The WTO has made an important contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations by successfully concluding the negotiations. In the 2030 Agenda, Goal 14 is dedicated to ocean conservation. Target 14.6, which forms part of this goal, explicitly calls for WTO negotiations on this topic to ban certain forms of subsidies.
The agreement will enter into force once two thirds of the 164 members have deposited their instruments of acceptance with the WTO.