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Philippines Accepts World Trade Organization’s Fisheries Subsidies Deal

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Philippines Accepts World Trade Organization’s Fisheries Subsidies Deal

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The Philippines, through the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), has acceded to the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) fisheries subsidies agreement (FSA).

On the sidelines of the 13th WTO Ministerial Conference in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, the DA and the DTI presented the country’s instrument of ratification, making the Philippines the 70th member to accept the FSA.

“The agreement allows members to grant subsidies for disaster relief under certain conditions to support fisherfolks impacted by natural disasters,” DTI Secretary Fred Pascual said in a news release on Wednesday.

In particular, the FSA is said to benefit small-scale fishers vulnerable to the impacts of natural disasters.

“This is vital to the Philippines, being a climate-vulnerable country, especially since small-scale and artisanal fisherfolks are heavily impacted by strong typhoons and the increasing sea temperatures exacerbated by climate change,” he added.

To implement the FSA obligations, the country may avail of the WTO’s technical assistance through its fisheries funding mechanism.

Under the FSA, subsidies contributing to the “illegal, unreported, and unregulated” (IUU) fishing, overfished stocks and to fishing in the unregulated high seas are all prohibited.

However, it allows the provision of subsidies up to and within the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in developing or least-developed countries.

In June 2022, the agreement was adopted at the 12th WTO Ministerial Conference. It will enter into force once ratification hits two-thirds of the WTO membership. (PNA)