China faces subsidy limit on vessels changing flags
China’s Ministry of Commerce is circulating an explanation of the World Trade Organization agreement limiting harmful fisheries subsidies.
The circular issued by China’s Ministry of Commerce, addressed to provincial government offices overseeing distant water fleets, urges them to “exercise[e] retained in the subsidization of fishing activities for vessels changing flag and fish whose population status is unknown.
The WTO agreement will have particular implications for the nature of the Chinese fleet, as around the world Chinese fishing companies have located vessels in bases in distant waters, with the support of the Chinese government, and many Chinese vessels fly the flag of third countries – including a large fleet based and flying the flag of Ghana.
The WTO agreement establishes new rules prohibiting subsidies for ships flying flags of convenience, regardless of the flag or registration of any vessel involved or the nationality of the recipient of the subsidy.
However, the WTO agreement does not include language covering the controversial issue of preferential treatment for developing countries, including fisheries subsidies that contribute to overcapacity and overfishing, and special and differential treatment. for developing countries, which requested exclusions for least developed countries, countries that are below a “de minimis” level (countries that individually account for less than 0.8% of global marine catches) and small-scale fisheries .
“Because the two issues are intertwined, members are likely to negotiate them at the same time,” Ernesto Fernandez Monge, senior official at The Pew Charitable Trusts, told SeafoodSource. “[The] The WTO agreement was a watershed moment, and members now have a second chance to establish rules limiting further harmful fishing subsidies, which would go even further in the fight against one of the main drivers of overfishing.
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