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  • The negotiations on Rules aim to clarify and improve disciplines while preserving the basic concepts, principles and effectiveness of the Anti-Dumping Agreements and Subsidies and Countervailing Measures Agreement.

  • Key areas of negotiations encompass:

    • Anti-dumping; and

    • Subsidies and countervailing measures including disciplines on fisheries subsidies.

  • Discussions in the Rules negotiations are largely technical in nature and there has been limited progress on some contentious issues.

  • For the anti-dumping and subsidies texts draft legal language is provided in areas where convergence appears to exist; while in other areas, the issues are identified and a brief summary of the range of views expressed is set forth, in brackets.

  • On fisheries subsidies, instead of a new draft text, there is a conceptual roadmap for further discussions.

1.  Anti-Dumping

  • Members remain divided in some contentious issues but there are areas where convergence is more imminent, in particular those that promote transparency and due process:

    • sources of exchange rate;

    • model matching;

    • deficiency letters;

    • disclosure of non-confidential summaries;

    • timely notification prior to verification; and

    • public notice.

  • Areas where Members' positions differ and the issues considered contentious include:

    • Zeroing

    • Sunset Review

    • Anti-Circumvention

    • Public Interest

    • Lesser Duty Rule (LDR); and

    • De Minimis and Negligibility


2. Horizontal Subsidies

  • Proposals to improve discipline for horizontal subsidies would entail amendments to the existing Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures (ASCM). These include:

    1. Definition of Subsidy:  
      To further clarify the term “benefits” in order for the investigating authority to assess the favourable terms conferred to the recipient of subsidies;

    2. Specificity of Subsidies:  
      To include another factor in determining “specificity” as current scope does not include a provision on regulated prices.

    3. Prohibition of Subsidies:  
      To widen the scope of prohibited subsidies for fisheries.

    4. Calculation of the Amount of Subsidy:  
      The investigating authority will be required to consider the element of regulated pricing when calculating benefits.

    5. Illustrative list of Export Subsidies:  
      To include determination of subsidies based on benefits obtained by a recipient.


3. Fisheries Subsidies

  • Fisheries subsidies are disciplined under the subsidies rules of the ASCM as there are no specific WTO provisions relating to fisheries subsidies.

  • Negotiations are on-going to create disciplines for subsidies in the fisheries sector, including the use of subsidies for national fisheries management system to prevent over-capacity and over-fishing.

  • Key elements under negotiations include:

i. Prohibition of Certain Fisheries Subsidies:

  • the provision would prohibit subsidies which include financial contribution by the Government to:

  • Purchase, construct, repair or refurbish fishing vessels;

  • Provide port infrastructure, fish landing facilities, fish storage facilities and/or port processing facilities;

  • Cover operating costs of fishermen;

  • Provide income support for fishermen; and

  • Provide price support for fish products

  • However, for developing countries, all prohibited subsidies can be ease/addressed with Special and Differential Treatment.

ii. Special and Differential Treatment (S&D):

  • A criterion for S&D provision has been the vessels length of not greater than 10 metres or 34 feet in length are allowed for operating costs subsidies (e.g. fuel etc) and vessel construction or repair subsidies;

  • Many developing countries expressed concern that provisions of S&D tied with several stringent conditions. Therefore flexibility is requested considering the infancy of fisheries sector to certain developing countries as well as its importance and particular relevance to livelihoods and social dimensions of sustainable development.

  • Developing countries and LDC's emphasised the need to re-look at the criteria on the length of the vessels. Many expressed preference to increase the length to be around 20-25 meter.

iii. Fisheries Management:

  • Under the current text, literally all subsidies programme including those intended for “small scale fisheries” are conditional upon placement of Fisheries Management system.

  • Many developing countries and LDCs expressed its concerns as some provisions found to be burdensome and the government is not in the position or not capable in implementing such system.

  • Fish stocks within the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) are subjected to peer review assessment in the relevant body of UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO). Such peer review will be burdensome and particularly costly. In addition, clarification on the mechanism of the assessment is required.

Last Updated 2016-12-16 09:12:51 by

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