WTO Fails to Agree Rules to Stop Overfishing – Sources



Emma Farge | Reuters

GENEVA (Reuters) – World Trade Organization negotiators have failed to reach a deal by a year-end deadline to cut subsidies that lead to overfishing, the chairman of the talks told delegates at a closed-door meeting on Monday.

Colombia’s Santiago Wills said it had been impossible to reach the U.N. target due to time lost due to the coronavirus pandemic, two sources at the meeting told Reuters. However, Wills said that a deal had been closer than ever, and that the “tremendous” progress gave him confidence in a future deal.

World leaders committed in 2015 to a series of U.N. targets and one of them mandates the Geneva-based trade watchdog to strike a deal on ending government subsidies worth billions of dollars that contribute to over-fishing by 2020.

China, the European Union, the United States, South Korea and Japan are among the main subsidisers.

The failure is a significant blow to the world’s fish stocks, since environmentalists say an ambitious deal could reverse a steep decline, and to the WTO, which faces questions about its ability to strike multilateral agreements.

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