Statement by the Delegation of the Republic of Indonesia at the Negotiating Group on Rules, Fisheries Subsidies : Proposed New Disciplines
May 03, 2010 Posted under Trade/WTO
Remarks on the Communication from Brazil, China, India and Mexico in TN/RL/GEN/163 Concerning Special and Differential Treatment
Indonesia would like to thank Brazil, China, India and Mexico for the constructive proposal to fulfil the Hong Kong mandate in particular regarding the appropriate and effective special and differential treatment for developing and least-developed Members. We agree that fisheries subsidy discipline should have a balance between environmental protection and the importance of fisheries sector to development sectors, poverty reduction, and livelihood, as well as for food security concerns.
Indonesia is one of the largest developing countries in which fisheries sector is a key sector in our archipelagic country. 90% of our fish structure could be categorized as artisanal with small-scale fish workers, the majority of whom still live in poverty. We would like to recall that the main objectives of establishing the WTO, as provided in the preamble of the Marrakesh Agreement, are to raise standards of living, ensure full employment, and increase real income while allowing the optimal use of the world’s resource (including fisheries) in accordance with sustainable development. The protection and preservation of the environment must, however, take into account the needs and concerns of Members with different levels of economic development.
In this occasion we would like to convey our view on the proposal. We agree on the underlying notion contained in the proposal that the prohibition of subsidies which causes excessive fishing effort and negatively impacting fisheries resources can and shall be reconciled with the important role of fisheries subsidies in the economic development of developing countries. Moreover, the applicable controls should allow developing countries to achieve development priorities, poverty reduction and address their livelihood as well as food security concerns.
However, we have some notes we would like to underline in response to the issues of artisanal fisheries, archipelagic waters small-scale and larger scale fisheries as well as its connection with the fisheries management and adverse effects.
First, about the definition of artisanal fisheries, small-scale and larger scale fisheries, the proposal brings forward a definition based on socio-economic criteria and each Member should be able to work on its own definition, insofar as the criteria set forth in the future WTO disciplines are observed. We deem that this idea will not result in the clarification and strengthening of the fisheries subsidy discipline as mandated by the Doha and Hong Kong Ministerial Declaration since each Member is able to work on its own definition.
We agree that it is hard to find universal parameters of low income, resource poor or livelihood fishing activities. That is why in our proposal document number TN/RL/GEN/150_rev2, we use territorial, vessel and gear specifications and the operators. We still believe that those indicators shall be used to determine the definition of artisanal fisheries, small-scale and larger scale fisheries.
Second, in relation to the relationship between the S&D treatment and the fisheries management, we agree that artisanal and small scale fisheries shall be treated differently from the larger scale fisheries. More leniency with regard to the fisheries management measures shall be given to artisanal and small scale fisheries. We very much welcome with the introduction of indigenous fisheries management institutions and measures as have been implemented in our country. However, to avoid different interpretation and disputes in the future, parameters shall also be given to what constitute indigenous fisheries management institutions and measures in place.
Third, we also would like to add archipelagic waters in footnote 1 as part of the definition of jurisdiction, sovereignty or sovereign rights. Indonesia as an archipelagic state has been acknowledged by UNCLOS to have sovereign rights in its archipelagic waters as its jurisdiction and sovereignty.
Forth, with regards to the provision of fisheries adverse effects in Article IV, we support the strengthening of the discipline. By listing out situations where adverse effects would be deemed to exist shall confer more clarification in the implementation of adverse effects allegations. However, Indonesia views that the following elements need to be clarified to strengthen the discipline on adverse effects issues:
- Who has the burden of proof to prove the existence of adverse effects?
- Who has the right to allege the existence of adverse effects, any country or only countries which can prove serious prejudice, injury, or nullification or impairment suffered due to the existence of the alleged subsidies?
- What would be the consequence of subsidies resulting in adverse effects? Will they be deemed as a prohibited subsidy or an actionable subsidy?
- Is there any unilateral domestic track available for this kind of subsidies like in the ASCM or should they be referred to the WTO dispute settlement mechanism?
- Is there any de minimis or negligible amounts like in ASCM in particular for developing countries?
To conclude, Indonesia would like to reiterate its readiness to work with the Chairman and Membership to achieve a fair and balance outcome of the rules negotiation.
Geneva, 3 May 2010