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MAFF UPDATE No.734 (Published on February 18th, 2011)


"Submission of the proposal by Japan on the negotiations of WTO Fisheries subsidies" 

Developing a discipline of fisheries subsidies has been discussed under the Rules Negotiations at the WTO Doha Round (the Doha Development Agenda).

In this regard, Japan submitted its proposals to WTO on January 17th, 2011 (in Geneva time). 


Points of Japanese proposals with regard to the discipline ot the WTO Fisheries subsidies

(1) Japan's basic view of the proposals

Based on the Japan's basic position on this discipline that not all fisheries subsidies are related to overcapacity/overfishing, and that the implementation of appropriate fisheries management can prevent  the negative effects on fisheries resources even if capacity/effort-enhancing effects are induced by the subsidies, Japan proposes to limit the range of prohibition of subsidies to those which are indeed connecting to overcapacity/overfishing, and to enlarge the scope of the general exceptions so as not to hinder implementation of legitimate governmental measures by Members.


(2)The contents of concrete proposals

(1) Some of prohibitions appeared in the chair's text in 2007, such as “support for processing and distribution industries”, “maintenance of infrastructures related to fishing port”, “income support for fishworkers” and “support for any fishing activity which may fish overfished resources” and so forth are eliminated from the prohibitions because they are not directly related to overcapacity/overfishing and they are necessary governmental measures for fisheries resource management.


(2) Japan proposes to prohibit, in principle, some items such as support for “acquisition, construction, repair and modernization of fishing vessels”, which are considered to have comparatively strong relation to overcapacity/overfishing, on the condition that  exceptional treatments are also granted for certain purposes such as reducing gross tonnage of fishing vessels, ensuring sea safety and reinforcing fisheries resource management.


(3) With regard to supports for “operating costs on fishing vessels”, Japan proposes to eliminate support for indirect expenses such as labor costs, insurance fee from the prohibition list, and limit the prohibition in this regard to direct expenses like fuel and fishing gears, on the condition that exceptional treatments are also granted such cases as necessary to mitigate socio-economic damage due to unexpected incidents which are not attributable to fishermen.


(4) In addition, with regard to “small-scale fisheries” which utilize local resources and  need public supports because of their vulnerability, Japan proposes to create the special section for this sector applicable to both developing and developed Members.  Under certain conditions such as vessel tonnage and fishing operating zone within the area of EEZ*, some prohibitions are relaxed.


(5) Considering that marine capture fishing by developing country Members accounts for more than 70% in the world, Japan proposes some elements for especial and differential treatments for developing Members, including the categorization of developing members into categories according to the status of fisheries, for the purpose of restricting the abuse of this treatment, leading to over-exploitation of fisheries resources.


*EEZ: Exclusive Economic Zone


Attachment (Attached files will open in separate windows.)

Textual proposal in English (official texture) (PDF:85KB)




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