Interim Report to the Council Meeting at Ministerial Level 2002 on the fisheries market liberalisation study


  1. In its Programme of Work 2000-2002, the Fisheries Committee launched a Study of Fisheries Market Liberalisation, with the following objectives:

    A study that will explore world and regional fish trade flows, issues and problems. This will include an analysis of how fisheries trade and production are likely to be affected by reductions in present tariff levels and by changes in non-tariff barriers. In addition the study will explore the effects of changes in restrictions on investment, access to services, subsidies in the fisheries sector, as well as other relevant factors.
  2. The Fishries Committee has so far developed an inventory of tariff and non-tariff measures, relevant government financial transfers, investment and service measures in fisheries across OECD countries, a database on tariff measures, an analytical framework and has started the major work on analysing the effects of market liberalization for each of the seven measures identified.
  3. The analytical framework developed for the Study emphasises the central importance of the level of resource exploitation and the fisheries management regime in determining the extent to which market liberalisation will affect trade and resource sustainability. These linkages are increasingly gaining attention in international discussions on fisheries market liberalisation.
  4. The study has relevance for the Doha WTO process and has also links to developments in other international fora dealing with fisheries related issues, in particular:

    - the FAO International Plan of Action for the Management of Fishing Capacity and the FAO International Plan of Action to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Un-regulated Fishing, and

    - actions undertaken by the relevant regional arrangements in aaccordance with UNCLOS.
  5. The Fisheries Committee hopes to finalise the Study on Fisheries Market Liberalisation during the second half of 2002 and will report more fully on the outcomes of its analysis to the 2003 Council Meeting at Ministerial Level. After the completion of the ongoing Study, the Fisheries Committee has agreed in its Programme of Work 2003-2005 to follow up the work on market liberalisation, to analyse economic aspects of illegal, unreported and unregulated fisheries activities as well as economic aspects relating to the transition to responsible fisheries.


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