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WTO Urges Nigeria To Be First Among Countries To Ratify Protocol On Fisheries Subsidies

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After about twenty-one years of stalled negotiation on World Trade Organisation, WTO Fisheries Subsidies as a result of not finding a common ground by member countries, the jinx was finally broken at the recently held 12th Ministerial Conference in Geneva, Switzerland.

The Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies, adopted at the MC12 marks a major milestone as enshrined Under Article 5, which states that “WTO members agree not to provide subsidies to fishing and fishing-related activities on the high seas that are outside the competence of a regional fisheries management organization”.

Addressing a news conference during her working visit to the Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Industrial, Trade and Investment in Abuja, the Director General, World Trade Organisation, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said the Agreement is a historic achievement for the membership being the first Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target to be fully met through a multilateral agreement.

She said the agreement will put a stop to harmful fisheries subsidies, which are key factor in the widespread depletion of the world’s fish stocks adding that Nigeria must be one of the first countries to adopt the Agreement as two-third of members have to deposit their “instruments of acceptance” for it to be operational.

The Agreement represents a historic achievement for the membership as the first Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target to be fully met through a multilateral agreement.

The World Trade Organisation’s Director General, also highlighted some deals that were abandoned for years but finally brokered during the MC12.

The Minister of State, Federal Ministry of Industrial, Trade and Investment, Mariam Katagum said President, Muhammadu Buhari has already directed for the process of preparing a council note for the Federal Executive Council to do the needful to consolidate the landmark achievement of the Geneva Conference.

Since about 250 million people globally depend on fish and about 12 million in Africa, the WTO said there will be further negotiations with stakeholders to deepen the agreement.

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