On November 13th, 2019, the Friends of Multilateralism Group (FMG) has co-organized together with the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) and the Pew Charitable Trusts (PEW) an Ambassadors’ Retreat on WTO fisheries subsidies negotiation. Issues discussed included status-quo of the negotiation, the road to the WTO 12th Ministerial Conference, etc.


Participants include FMG members, IISD and PEW representatives, and ambassadors of twenty-nine delegations from both developed and developing countries.


Fisheries Subsidies: Ambassadors’ Retreat

Wednesday 13 November 2019

Château de Bossey, Bogis-Bossey, Switzerland


WTO negotiations on fisheries subsidies are due to be concluded at the end of 2019. With only a few weeks remaining until this deadline, technical work continues, but major progress is hampered by the lack of a Chair of the negotiations and by the technical challenges presented by the issues on the table. This retreat will give Heads of Delegation the opportunity to discuss, in an informal and non-negotiating setting and with the benefit of expert input, the progress made to date in the fisheries subsidies negotiation, what the shape of an outcome in December 2019 could be, and what processes might follow from that point. The discussion is designed to be informal and exploratory. It will take place under the Chatham House rule and is strictly without prejudice to any Member’s formal position in the negotiation.





09:30 – 09:45  Opening remarks:  Why we are here              

  Xiankun Lu, Alice Tipping, Isabel Jarrett


09:45 – 10:45 Session 1: How far have the negotiations come?

  This session will begin with a brief review of the key issues on the table in each of the main pillars of the negotiation: prohibitions of subsidies to IUU fishing, to fishing of overfished stocks, and of certain subsidies that contribute to overcapacity and overfishing, and cross-cutting issues including special and differential treatment. Participants will be invited to comment on the progress made so far and the questions still to be resolved.

  Chair: Xiankun Lu

  Resource person: Alice Tipping


10:45 – 11:00  Coffee

11:00 – 13:00  Session 2: The road to December 2019

  During this session, participants will be invited to discuss what shape an outcome in December 2019 might take. In particular, they may wish to comment on how key political choices, such as the choice of approach to a discipline on subsidies to overcapacity and overfishing, could be made.

  Chair: Stuart Harbinson

  Resource person: Alejandro Jara, Guillermo Valles

13:00 – 15:00  Working Lunch: Lessons from the past and the way forward

  Over lunch, participants will be invited to exchange views on the negotiating process until December 2019 and what work might follow after this point, drawing on lessons from previous WTO negotiations.

  Chair: Alejandro Jara

  Resource person: Stuart Harbinson


15:00  Closing remarks

  Xiankun Lu, Alice Tipping, Isabel Jarrett