The Negotiating Group chair, Ambassador Santiago Wills (Colombia), said it was vital for the Negotiating Group as soon as possible to develop a consolidated text, for ministers to consider at MC12 in Nur-Sultan in June, and that he would consult with members on the best way to produce this. He sought members' continued support and flexibility for a successful conclusion of the negotiations.
The chair also reported on developments since his last meeting with the heads of delegations in November, including on the clusters of meetings of the Negotiating Group during the weeks of 13 January and 3 February 2020. At the most recent meeting, members had the opportunity to respond to specific questions posed by facilitators to help refine approaches on subsidy prohibitions related to illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing, fishing of overfished stocks, overfishing and overcapacity, as well as special and differential treatment for developing and least-developed countries and other cross-cutting issues. Members also heard presentations of three new proposals from the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States, and of a revised proposal from the European Union, Japan, Korea and Chinese Taipei.
The next meeting of the Negotiating Group will be in the week starting 2 March, although informal consultations and smaller group meetings will continue to be held before then.
Based on the mandate fixed under the Ministerial Decision from the WTO's 11th Ministerial Conference, and the UN Sustainable Development Goal Target 14.6, negotiators are expected to secure an agreement in 2020 for disciplines eliminating subsidies to IUU fishing and for prohibiting certain forms of fisheries subsidies that contribute to overcapacity and overfishing, with special and differential treatment for developing and least-developed countries.