Philippines Pursues Fisheries and Agriculture Agreements at WTO Summit in Abu Dhabi.

The Philippines anticipates that ministers from the World Trade Organization (WTO) will reach agreements concerning the vital fishing and agriculture sectors, aiming to address sustainability and food security, revealed a government official.

Alfredo Pascual, the Philippine Trade and Industry Secretary, expressed optimism that any agreements reached would bolster one of Southeast Asia’s burgeoning economies. He highlighted the significance of the expected formal acceptance of Comoros and Timor Leste as WTO members during the Ministerial Conference in Abu Dhabi, marking a milestone in negotiations on fisheries subsidies.

Pascual emphasized that agreements on agriculture would prioritize enhancing food security, a paramount concern for many nations. The WTO’s negotiations aim to address various aspects of agriculture, including domestic support, market access, and export competition, among others, to ensure a balanced and progressive global trading system.

The Philippines, known for its abundant water and land resources across its 7,600 islands, heavily relies on fishing and agriculture sectors, particularly in rural areas, providing millions of jobs. The fishing industry contributes approximately 1.3 percent to the country’s GDP and employs around 1.6 million individuals, while agriculture comprises about a quarter of the workforce and contributes approximately 9 percent to GDP.

Despite challenges, the Philippine economy has shown resilience, rebounding strongly from the Covid-19 pandemic-induced downturn. While economic growth targets were not fully met in 2023, Pascual remains optimistic about the WTO conference’s potential to advance critical areas, reflecting a collective commitment to a more equitable and sustainable global trade environment.

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