AT THE WTO: PH bats for removal of fisheries subsidies

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    Deal hangs. The WTO is crafting an agreement that sets discipline on the use of subsidies that contribute to overfishing.
    Deal hangs. The WTO is crafting an agreement that sets discipline on the use of subsidies that contribute to overfishing.

    The Department of Agriculture (DA) said the Philippines bats for the prohibition of certain forms of fisheries subsidies that encourage overfishing.

    DA Secretary William Dar said the Philippines is maintaining this position under the proposed fishery subsidies agreement in the World Trade Organization (WTO) .

    Dar yesterday met with Philippine ambassador to the WTO Manuel Antonio Teehankee to tackle the matter ahead of the continuation of negotiations on the agreement at the 12th Ministerial Conference in Kazakhstan in June.

    Teehankee expressed the country will support WTO rules on disciplines governing fisheries subsidies that contribute to overcapacity and overfishing.

    Teehankee said the Philippines will also back the elimination of subsidies that contribute to illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing .

    Dar said the DA will be part of negotiating committees to deliver a multilateral agreement on the issue.

    The fishery subsidies agreement is part of WTO’s goal to comply with the Sustainable Development Goal 14.6.

    Dar said he also assured Tee hankee the DA will continue to be strict in issuing sanitary and phytosanitary import clearances as the country has been fully compliant with its tariff duties, particularly on rice.

    Fisheries slightly moved up 0.56 percent in the third quarter of 2019 and contributed 16.70 percent to the total agricultural output but grossed P64.1 billion, 0.41 percent lower compared to the previous year’s gross earnings for the period.

    Production of milkfish, skipjack and seaweed lifted the performance of the sector. Milkfish experienced the most output growth as it hit 112,270 metric tons (MT) from 99,260 MT, a 13.1 percent improvement.

    In the first three quarters of 2019, the subsector’s production also increased by 1.40 percent.