Fisheries subsidies negotiations have been a protracted issue ever since the launch of the Doha Development Agenda in 2001. Members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) have intensified their efforts to conclude the negotiations by the 12th WTO Ministerial Conference to be held in 2021. At present, significant divergences exist between developed and developing countries in the WTO on the formulation of disciplines on fisheries subsidies. This chapter will discuss the key contentious issues of the various fisheries subsidies proposals, including the recent Chair’s text of July 2020. The chapter discusses the major imbalances, including the lack of policy space for development, the imposition of stringent management measures, compromising the rights of developing countries in UNCLOS and the low ambition of special and differential treatment. The chapter further discusses how the existing proposals benefit the market access agenda of the developed economies. It also cautions that a similar scenario of the imbalance experienced by developing countries in the Agreement on Agriculture will be repeated in the existing fisheries subsidies negotiations if the contentious issues remain unresolved in the final agreement. The paper also provides a strategic way forward in relation to a balanced special and differential treatment for member’s consideration.
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