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HomeNewsMacau becomes 44th member to accede to WTO’s fisheries subsidy pact

Macau becomes 44th member to accede to WTO’s fisheries subsidy pact

The World Trade Organisation (WTO) has announced in a statement that Macau has formally accepted a multilateral agreement to ban subsidies that might contribute to overfishing, and thus protect fish stocks and marine life reserves, making it the 44th member to accept the deal.

Under the name of “Macao, China”, Macau is one of WTO’s 164 members in its capacity as a separate customs territory of the People’s Republic of China (PRC).

Friday’s statement said that the instrument of acceptance for the Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies was handed by the permanent representative of the Macau Special Administrative Region (MSAR) to the WTO, Lúcia Abrantes dos Santos, to Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, director-general of the organisation, at its headquarters in Geneva last Thursday.

The Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies, adopted by consensus at the WTO’s 12th Ministerial Conference held in June 2022, sets to end subsidies for fishing on the unregulated high seas and prohibit support for illegal fishing, with the objective of remedying the widespread depletion of the world’s fish stocks. It is the first WTO agreement aimed at achieving environmentally sustainable development goals, according to the WTO official website.

The Agreement needs ratification from at least two-thirds of WTO’s members, i.e., 110 members, in order to come into effect.

The statement quoted Abrantes dos Santos as saying that “Macau has remained a strong supporter of a multilateral trading system, and it is our collective effort to contribute to the sustainability of the oceans.”

7 more members this week

On Monday, the WTO said in another statement that four days after Macau’s accession, seven more countries, namely Albania, Australia, Botswana, Cuba, Côte d’Ivoire, South Korea, and Saint Lucia have also accepted the Agreement, bringing the total number of WTO members that have acceded to the convention to 51, that is, 46 percent of what is needed for it to come into force.

In the statement, the WTO said that with the ratification by members cutting across a wide spectrum of geographic locations and development levels, this month has seen “a leap in the right direction” in the Agreement’s entry into force, which is “critical to global food security and environmental stability.

The statement added that additional provisions would be made in its next Ministerial Conference in Abu Dhabi, slated for February 2024, in order to further enhance the disciplines of the Agreement. 

This file photo released by the World Trade Organisation (WTO) on Friday shows the permanent representative of the Macau SAR to the WTO, Lúcia Abrantes dos Santos (left), handing Macau’s instrument of acceptance of the Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies to WTO General-Director Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala in Geneva on the previous day. The MSAR is a WTO member in its capacity as a separate customs territory of China.