Nigeria Becomes 2nd WTO Member To Accept Agreement On Fisheries Subsidies

Nigeria Becomes 2nd WTO Member To Accept Agreement On Fisheries Subsidies

Nigeria, on Monday, June 12, 2023, formally deposited its instrument of acceptance for the Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies, making it the second African World Trade Organisation (WTO) member to do so after Seychelles.

Seychelles had on March 10, 2023, deposited its instrument of acceptance for the Agreement thereby becoming the third WTO member and first African country to do so.

Ambassador Adamu Mohammed Abdulhamid, presented Nigeria’s instrument of acceptance to the WTO Director-General, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala in Geneva, Switzerland, yesterday.

Acceptances from two-thirds of WTO members are needed for the Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies to come into effect.

A statement on the WTO website noted that while presenting Nigeria’s instrument of acceptance, Abdulhamid said: “The Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies presents a unique opportunity for Nigeria to promote sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth and the improvement of livelihoods while preserving the health of ocean ecosystem, believing that the Agreement shall put a stop to all harmful fisheries subsidies such as illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing activities by all WTO members.

“By this instrument of acceptance, Nigeria reassures its commitment to a rule-based multilateral trading system by guaranteeing its compliance with the Agreement as well as refraining from introducing any new subsidies that harm the marine environment while recognising the need for appropriate and effective special and differential treatment for developing and least developed countries which can be achieved through adequate policy space to develop its fisheries sector and technical assistance and capacity building in order to implement the discipline.

“Nigeria calls on other WTO members who are yet to ratify this agreement to do so as soon as possible so as to contribute to our global effort of preservation of the global fish stocks.”

Nigeria’s formal acceptance marked an important step toward entry into force of the Agreement with about one-third of the acceptances needed now in hand.

Nigeria is the fifth-largest African fishing nation and is estimated to lose about $70 million each year to illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing. The sector accounts for as much as five per cent of Nigeria’s gross domestic product (GDP) and supports the livelihood of about 24 million people.

Receiving Nigeria’s instrument of acceptance, the WTO DG, Okonjo-Iweala said: “I am profoundly grateful to Nigeria for formally accepting the WTO Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies. I am proud to see the country’s continued commitment to sustainable development and its vote of confidence in the work of the WTO.

“Nigeria’s acceptance adds to our growing tally of members that have accepted the Agreement — we have received about one-third of the total that we need for the Agreement to enter into force.

“I hope that Nigeria’s action serves as an inspiration to other governments in Africa and the rest of the world to move swiftly to implement the Agreement and foster global cooperation for the benefit of our shared future.”

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