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Media Release: WTO High-Level Pacific Regional Meeting on Fisheries Subsidies

16 to 18 November 2022, Nadi, Fiji: The Forum Island Countries (FIC), World Trade Organisation (WTO) members met for the first time since the Ministerial Conference (MC12) of the World Trade Organization held in June 2022, Geneva.  Fisheries, Legal and Trade Senior Officials met on the first two days of the event for a capacity-building workshop to sensitize them with detailed understanding of the Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies (FSA), one of the few Agreements reached at MC12.

The Ministerial Session on 18 November allowed Forum Island Countries WTO Ministers and Heads of Delegations, as well as Australia and New Zealand to deliberate on the ratification processes at the national level, implementation plans as well as the second wave of negotiations.

The WTO Director General (DG), Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala for her first visit to the region since becoming the head of the Organisation joined the Ministerial Roundtable attended by Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu. Dr. Okonjo-Iweala stated in her remarks that she wanted to hear from the Pacific the challenges they faced for the ratification process, but more importantly the aspirations of the Pacific going into MC13, given the work that remains for a substantial (comprehensive) Fisheries Subsidies Agreement.

DG Okonjo-Iweala’s visit to the Pacific also provided an opportunity for the Signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Pacific Island Forum Secretariat (PIFS) and WTO which is being renewed for the fourth time. The MOU provides for continued partnership between the two organisations on the WTO technical assistance programmes for the region delivered through PIFS.

Samoa’s delegation to the High Level Fisheries Meetings was led by Tilafono David Hunter, Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, joined by HE Toleafoa Nella Tavita-Levy, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Samoa to the U.N.O.G based in Geneva, and Senior Officials from the Office of the Attorney General, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries.

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