13 July 2021
The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) has published an open letter to trade ministers ahead of the upcoming World Trade Organization (WTO) negotiations on fisheries subsidies.
The letter – authored by ICC Secretary General John W.H. Denton – calls upon trade ministers to finalise a fisheries agreement ahead of Thursday’s meeting at the WTO.
In the letter, Mr Denton writes, “The global business community considers a rapid conclusion of the fisheries negotiations to be a matter of first-order importance. For business, finalising the deal would represent a significant step forward not only in sustainability and global governance of the oceans, but an essential way to reinforce the multilateral trading system and demonstrate that the WTO—and its Members—can continue to write meaningful trade rules that deliver for people and the planet.”
For ICC and the global business community, the WTO fisheries negotiations represent an opportunity to accelerate the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Mr Denton writes, “Business accordingly has high expectations of governments to complete the fisheries deal this year. Faith in the global trading system can only be maintained if Trade Ministers are able to deliver on promises made by leaders to complete the negotiations as part of the Sustainable Development Goals. The SDGs cannot merely remain “goals”: they must, very quickly, become realities.”
By reaching an agreement on fisheries subsidies, trade ministers have the opportunity to create a more sustainable and prosperous future for all.
“We understand the politically contentious nature of several aspects of the negotiations. But now is not the time for quibbling or obfuscation. The fate of our oceans and faith in the trading system hinges on you, Trade Ministers, making tough decisions and compromising. The global business community encourages you to take a broad view of your countries’ national interests that takes full account of the potential for an outcome on fisheries to restore faith in the trading system, inject momentum into MC12 negotiations and ultimately make our shared ocean economy more sustainable in the long term.”