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Philippines defends its agricultural and fisheries interests at the 12th WTO Ministerial Conference

GENEVA, Switzerland -- The Philippine delegation continued to defend the interests of the its domestic farmers and fisherfolk at the World Trade Organization's (WTO) 12th Ministerial Conference in Geneva, Switzerland.

Speaking at the thematic session on Fisheries Trade and Industry, Undersecretary Ceferino S. Rodolfo commended the efforts of Director General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and the Membership to deliver on the WTO's mandate to address harmful fishery subsidies and to demonstrate the institution's ability to contribute solutions to declining fish stocks, climate change, and human-induced environmental degradation.

Undersecretary Rodolfo also reiterated the Philippines' support for the Special and Differential Treatment (SDT) applied to developing countries with respect to the 12 nautical miles measure from baselines, meaning that while fisheries subsidies disciplines apply to subsistence fisherfolk, the Philippines would not be subject to dispute settlement procedures.

On the Draft Ministerial Decision on Agriculture, DA Undersecretary Fermin D. Adriano noted that the decision was far from the ambitious work program many Members aspired for towards MC13.

The Philippines reiterated that the agriculture work program should also ensure the promise of agricultural reform that delivers balanced and concrete results that would not reverse the gains already enshrined in previous Ministerial Decisions and Declarations, including Special and Differential Treatment for developing and least-developed countries.

Equally important are the Technical Assistance and Capacity Building (TACB) programs made available to developing and least developed countries, such as the WTO's new Fish Funding Mechanism, where the Philippines, including Barbados and Mauritius, were selected as pioneer beneficiary partners.

Undersecretary Adriano recalled the objectives of the Doha Development Agenda which remain valid to this day and should not be abandoned. He stressed that the Philippines reaffirms the importance of addressing trade and production distorting domestic support as well as the right of developing Members to an effective special safeguard mechanism and a permanent solution on public stockholding for food security purposes. (DA)

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Kate Shiene Austria

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Information Officer III under the Creative and Production Services Division of the Philippine Information Agency. 

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