Piyush Goyal speaks out for preserving India’s right to high seas & domestic fishing on par with developed countries at WTO
New Delhi, Jul 15 (KNN) Minister of Commerce & Industry, Consumer Affairs and Food & Public Distribution and Textiles, Piyush Goyal spoke strongly for the rights of developing countries at the Ministerial meeting of the WTO on the crucial fisheries subsidy negotiations on Thursday.
The meeting was attended by Ministers and Ambassadors fr0m other WTO members and the DG WTO Dr. Ngozi, according to an official statement.
On behalf of India, the union minister stated that India is very keen to finalize the agreement because of irrational subsidies and overfishing by many countries are hurting Indian fishermen and their livelihood.
He expressed his disappointment that the Membership is still short of finding the right balance and fairness in the agreement. He also emphasized Prime Minister Modi’s thrust, to promote the fishing sector and protect small fishermen.
He expressed concern that any unbalanced or unequal agreement now would bind us into current fishing arrangements, which may not meet future requirements. He pointed out that it is essential that big subsidizers take greater responsibility to reduce their subsidies and fishing capacities, in accordance with the principles of ‘Polluter Pays’ and ‘Common but Differentiated Responsibilities’.
The union minister observed that any agreement must recognize that different countries are at different stages of development and that current fishing arrangements reflect their current economic capacities. The agreement has to provide for current and future needs.
While putting forth India’s demands, he said that the per capita fisheries subsidy, given by most developing countries is minuscule compared to advanced fishing nations.
He clearly demanded that countries like India who are yet to develop fishing capacities, cannot sacrifice their future ambitions. Allowing advanced nations to continue the grant of subsidies is unequal, unfair and unjust.
While responding to the specific question posed by the DG to the ministers, he said that limiting Special & Differential Treatment (S&DT) to poor and artisanal fishermen only is neither appropriate nor affordable, and is not acceptable.
S&DT is required to not only protect the livelihoods of poor fishermen but also to address food security concerns have the necessary policy space for developing the fisheries sector and the need for the larger time period for any transition, he added.
Highlighting that protection of the environment is ingrained in the Indian ethos for ages and has been repeatedly stated by our Prime Minister, he urged that India is committed to concluding the negotiations, as long as it provides for balancing current and future fishing needs, preserving space for equitable growth in fishing capacities in the future, and an effective S&DT without any imbalances.