PH asks WTO members to level playing field on agriculture, fisheries

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    The Philippines called big economies in the World Trade Organization (WTO) to phase out their own subsidies on agriculture to level the playing field.

    The country also urged fellow WTO members to work hard to conclude by December the negotiations on fisheries subsidies to address the problems on illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.

    These were among the issues raised by Ramon Lopez, secretary of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to his fellow trade ministers at the informal WTO ministerial meeting in Shanghai, China on Wednesday.

    Lopez emphasized the importance of the fisheries sector in the country, lamenting that other countries’ fisheries subsidies lead to overcapacity and overfishing, threatening Filipino fisherfolks’ livelihood.

    Lopez also called on his fellow trade ministers to “support and maintain an open, fair, predictable, transparent and rules-based multilateral trading system as embodied in the WTO.”

    He urged the members of the WTO to revisit their commitments since the 2017 Ministerial Conference in Buenos Aires and to assess and manifest the policy-based give-and-take that will be essential to enhance the chances of success as WTO members gear up for the 12th Ministerial Conference in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan in 2020.

    On the other trade areas and initiatives, the Philippines expressed its support and openness to engage on the discussions on topics relevant to the changing global economy, specifically, on e-commerce, services domestic regulation, micro, small and medium enterprises and investment facilitation for development.

    With the difficulties in moving forward multilateral trade negotiations at the WTO, proposals to reform and modernize the trade rules are being explored and discussed by members.