The WTO is extending the ministerial meeting seeking agreements on

The WTO is extending the ministerial meeting seeking agreements on fisheries and agriculture until Friday

Abu Dhabi (AFP) – The World Trade Organization (WTO) has decided to extend until Friday ministerial negotiations in Abu Dhabi, which were due to conclude this Thursday, in the expectation that its 164 member countries will reach an agreement on fisheries and agriculture.

First change: March 1, 2024 – 10:03

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The WTO's 13th Ministerial Conference, which began on Monday, was scheduled to hold its final session on Thursday evening, but the closure has been “postponed to Friday, March 1 at 2:00 p.m. (10:00 GMT),” the organization said . This confirms the suspicions of many delegations.

These negotiations are “like a roller coaster ride,” said a source close to the talks.

“Ministers are working extremely hard and making real progress,” WTO spokeswoman Ismaila Dieng said early Friday.

“However, the negotiations are complex due to the links between the areas being negotiated. “The ministers will review the texts overnight and meet first thing the next morning,” he added.

Indian Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal had previously told reporters that everyone was “working with a very positive attitude (…) to figure out what we can do best.”

The four main issues being negotiated are fisheries, agriculture, e-commerce and WTO reform. But there is currently no prospect of an outcome.

Negotiations to avoid subsidies that encourage overfishing and vessel overcapacity have stalled in small-scale and deep-sea fishing.

India earlier this week called for a 25-year moratorium on rules for developing countries and a moratorium on subsidies for countries engaging in deep-sea fishing “for a period of at least 25 years.”

As for agriculture – an even more complex issue given recent protests by agricultural producers in Europe and India – countries are currently negotiating a work program with a list of issues to be addressed in the future.

Another point of contention is electronic commerce. A small group of countries, including India and Brazil, threatened on Thursday to block the renewal of the tariff moratorium on electronic transmissions.