(ECNS) -- The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region deposited its instrument of acceptance of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies on Monday.
This agreement represents the second multilateral trade accord since the establishment of the WTO and is the organization's first agreement centered around environmental sustainability.
The agreement establishes binding multilateral rules that prohibit support for illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, bans support for fishing overfished stocks and ends subsidies for fishing on the unregulated high seas.
After over two decades of negotiations, the agreement was adopted by consensus at the WTO's 12th Ministerial Conference (MC12)held in Geneva in June 2022.
“As a staunch supporter of the multilateral trading system, we are pleased to deposit our Instrument of Acceptance and join the global efforts to operationalize the Agreement, so that it can deliver benefits for trade, development and the environment,” said Algernon Yau, secretary for Commerce and Economic Development of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.
“The successful conclusion of the agreement is a milestone achievement as WTO members reinvigorated multilateralism and worked collaboratively to deliver on issues of global importance. Hong Kong is committed to working constructively with other WTO members to further strengthen the disciplines,” Yau added.
Since the adoption of the agreement, the Environment & Ecology Bureau and the Agriculture, Fisheries & Conservation Department(AFCD) have been preparing to implement the agreement.
AFCD has informed the industry about the relevant progress.
To bring Hong Kong’s financial assistance policies in line with the agreement once it comes into force, AFCD will make appropriate adjustments to relevant fisheries subsidies and support programs.
It is reported that the agreement will come into force upon acceptance by two-thirds of WTO members. As of today, 42 WTO members have accepted the agreement.