Singapore deposited its instrument of acceptance for the Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies on February10, 2023, making it the second WTO member and first coastal state to do so. Acceptances from two-thirds of WTO members are needed for the Agreement to come into effect.
Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said: “Singapore’s formal acceptance of the WTO Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies is an important step towards its entry into force. It adds to the diversity of economies needed for the collective effort to uphold ocean sustainability worldwide. As a stalwart supporter of the multilateral trading system and an active participant in both the fisheries subsidies negotiations and ongoing discussions on trade and environment, Singapore once again leads the way in highlighting the importance of global cooperation and ensuring the WTO is responsive to the challenges of our time.”
Singapore’s Minister for Trade and Industry, Gan Kim Yong, said: “The WTO Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies is a significant milestone, as the first WTO agreement with an environment focus. As a firm supporter of the rules-based multilateral trading system, Singapore welcomes this landmark Agreement, and has since ratified the Agreement. The Agreement disciplines harmful fisheries subsidies to prevent the depletion of fish stocks, strengthens food security, and protects the livelihoods of those who depend on marine fisheries. We encourage other WTO members to also deposit their instrument of acceptance so that we can collectively see the benefits of the Agreement coming to fruition.”
Ambassador Hung Seng Tan submitted his country’s instrument of acceptance to DG Okonjo-Iweala.
Adopted by consensus at the WTO’s 12th Ministerial Conference (MC12) held in Geneva on 12-17 June 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 for additional provisions that would further enhance the disciplines of the Agreement.
The full text of the Agreement can be accessed here. The list of members that have submitted their acceptance of the Agreement is available here.
Information for members on how to accept the Protocol of Amendment is available here.