Achieving tangible outcome is Fiji’s main priority

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A fishing vessel at the Port of Suva. Picture: FILE

Achieving a tangible outcome on fisheries subsidies remains Fiji’s main priority, according to Fiji’s delegation to the 13th World Trade Organization (WTO) Ministerial Conference (MC13) led by Minister for Trade Manoa Kamikamica and Permanent Secretary for Trade Shaheen Ali.

MC13 opened in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates yesterday.

“The Pacific region depends on the health of our oceans for sustenance, livelihoods, and economic development. For us, this is not just a national interest but a matter of survival,” Mr Ali said at yesterday’s meeting of the ACP (African, Caribbean, Pacific) trade bloc, before the main event.

Mr Ali also expressed concerns that the current text on overcapacity and overfishing failed to fully address Fiji’s legitimate concerns, hindering efforts to safeguard the oceans and develop fishing capacity in the future.

“The current text falls short of meeting the minimum mandate set by Sustainable Development Goal 14.6, to which we are all committed. Fiji remains unconvinced that this represents our best effort.

“Our fisheries resources are at risk of continued exploitation if decisive action is not taken. We need to take strong action to stop this exploitation.”

In addition to fisheries, the ministers also discussed negotiations on agriculture, dispute settlement reform, the e-commerce work program, development, Trade-Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), and trade and environment during the meeting, which was chaired by Fiji’s Minister for Trade Manoa Kamikamica.

Fiji, meanwhile, will also be monitoring “several critical areas of negotiation during MC13, including agriculture and food security, e-commerce, development, and the WTO reform agenda.”

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