WTO chief rebukes stalled fishing negotiations

Proposal for Turkey, Norway to lead negotiations were rejected by Pakistan and India


REUTERS December 21, 2022
PHOTO: REUTERS

GENEVA:

The head of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) chided countries for failing to make headway on negotiations covering fishing and agriculture because of infighting over who should lead them.

The WTO broke a multi-year deal-making drought in June by clinching a series of agreements at a major trade conference in Geneva in June, including a fisheries deal. But since then, little has happened because of a deadlock over who should chair the fisheries and agriculture talks, delegates said.

Delegates told Reuters that a proposal was floated for Turkey and Norway’s ambassadors to lead the agricultural and fisheries negotiations but these choices were rejected by Pakistan and India, delegates said. Pakistan preferred a Sri Lankan candidate.

The decision is important since key aspects of the fisheries deal, which aims to cut billions of dollars in subsidies that are emptying the ocean of marine life, remain unresolved. “Six months of not negotiating is not acceptable,” WTO Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala told countries in a closed-door meeting.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 21st, 2022.

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