Direct the U.S. Trade Representative, and the Secretaries of State and Commerce to pursue international commitments to eliminate fisheries subsidies that contribute to excess fishing capacity, overfishing, and IUU fishing by 2020.
While some fisheries subsidies provide important benefits like supporting fisheries research and conservation, subsidies that contribute to overfishing and overcapacity are one of the main drivers of unsustainable levels of fishing. Such subsidies also undermine the effectiveness of fisheries management regimes and can contribute to IUU fishing. Global fisheries subsidies were estimated at approximately $35 billion in 2009, of which approximately $20 billion consisted of capacity-enhancing subsidies.
The United States has long been a global leader and advocate in support of disciplines on harmful fisheries subsidies, and the United States has long identified disciplines on fisheries subsidies as a key area in which trade agreements can contribute to environmental conservation and sustainable development. Since 2001, as part of the Doha Round of World Trade Organization (WTO) negotiations, the United States has pursued commitments to limit harmful fisheries subsidies and provide greater transparency for fisheries subsidies. The United States will continue to seek and support multilateral commitments in the WTO on fisheries subsidies. In the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum the United States is promoting transparency in fisheries subsidies and their ultimate elimination, as reflected in the 2014 Xiamen Declaration of the APEC Ocean-Related Ministerial Meeting. The United States is also pursuing ambitious commitments to discipline harmful fisheries subsidies in our ongoing free trade agreement negotiations for a Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement with 11 other Asia-Pacific countries and a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP) agreement with the European Union.
To implement this recommendation, USTR, along with the Departments of State and Commerce and other relevant agencies, will continue to pursue meaningful commitments to discipline harmful fisheries subsidies and promote greater transparency of fisheries subsidies. Specific steps include: