The treatment of fisheries subsidies is a major issue for international trade, the negotiations of which are expected to conclude a regulatory agreement that determines a disciplinary, efficient and sustainable regulatory policy.

The World Trade Organization (WTO) is the body responsible for conducting this debate, bearing in mind that discussions are primarily focused on achieving the eradication of illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUU fishing).

The elimination of fisheries subsidies involves resolving key aspects of species preservation, and therefore debates must clarify core and technical aspects of overcapacity, overfishing and overexploitation and analyse the scope of the financing schemes of the fishing industry, while also considering differentiated treatment for developing and least developed countries.

The multilateral nature of these negotiations and the debate on the criteria for the applicability of rules for subsidies is one of the biggest and major challenges of WTO members, including those in Latin America and the Caribbean, given the relevance of the fisheries sector in the economies of the region.

The issue has been discussed since 2001 in view of the mandate emanating from the Doha Ministerial Conference, but the urgency of concluding negotiations arose following the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in 2015, with one of the specific goals for the preservation of maritime life establishes the elimination of fisheries subsidies.

The deadline for reaching the agreement is set for the year 2020.

  1. Consider the scope of trade negotiations on the fisheries subsidies policy.
  2. Examine possible enforcement mechanisms for effective international regulation of the fisheries subsidies policy.
  3. Analyse the effects of the fisheries subsidy policy for Latin America and the Caribbean.
Information on the event
  1. Aimed at: Representatives from the public sector, the private sector and the academy related to the subject.
  2. Format: 120-minute conference (90 minutes for presentations and 30 minutes for questions and answers) to be held virtually through the CISCO-WEBEX platform.
  3. Date and time: Wednesday, 23 September at 12:00 am Venezuela time.


12:00 - 12: 15

Opening speech:

Permanent Secretary of the Latin American and Caribbean Economic System (SELA), Ambassador Javier Paulinich

Presentations and dialogue of panelists


Ambassador Óscar Hernández, Director of Relations for Integration and Cooperation of the Permanent Secretariat of the Latin American and Caribbean Economic System (SELA)

Reinaldo Morales Rodríguez, Director, Specialized Regional Directorate of the Central American Fisheries and Aquaculture Organization (SICA/OSPECA)

12:15 - 12: 45

David Vivas Eugui, Legal Officer at the Trade, Environment, Climate Change and Sustainable Development Branch, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)

Una perspectiva desde la economía azul

12:45 - 01:15

Ambassador Santiago Wills, Permanent Representative of Colombia to the World Trade Organization (WTO), Chairman of the Negotiating Group on Rules, responsible for negotiations on fisheries subsidies.

01:15 – 01:30

Alice Tipping, Director of Fisheries Subsidies, International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD)

Subvenciones a la pesca en la OMC: Implicaciones para América Latina y el Caribe

01:30 – 02:00 Round of questions and answers - Conclusions

Guest moderator:

Reinaldo Morales Rodríguez, Regional Director of the Specialized Regional Directorate of the Central American Fisheries and Aquaculture Organization (OSPESCA), attached to the General Secretariat of the Central American Integration System (SICA)

A Panamanian national, a biologist with a Specialization in Ecological Sciences from the Federal University of Goiás in Brazil and a Specialization in Aquaculture.

He has worked in the fisheries and aquaculture sector of his country and the SICA region in the areas of extension, research, management and administration for more than 35 years.

Member of the national group in charge of organizing Panama's new fisheries and aquaculture authority in 2006, and first Secretary-General of the Water Resources Authority of Panama (ARAP).

Since 2004, he has worked on regional projects in OSPESCA member countries.

Representative of Panama and OSPESCA to different international forums and groups.

He has developed and collaborated in the production of different documents and articles on aquaculture and fisheries at the national and regional levels.


Alice Tipping

Director of Fisheries Subsidies, International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD)

She has designed and led programmes of research and policy dialogues on trade and environment issues, particularly on fisheries subsidies. She has experience in intersection models linked to foreign policy, law and environmental protection, based on management of government policies.

Previous roles to IISD include Programme Manager, Environment and Natural Resources for the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD), Policy Advisor to New Zealand’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations in Geneva, Second Secretary and Legal Adviser to New Zealand’s Permanent Mission to the World Trade Organization (WTO), and Policy Advisor and Legal Advisor at New Zealand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Alice Tipping has a Master's degree in International Relations from the University of Cambridge (United Kingdom) and a Bachelor's degree in Law and a Bachelor's degree in Trade and Administration (Economics) from Victoria University in Wellington, New Zealand.


Ambassador Santiago Wills, Permanent Representative of Colombia to the World Trade Organization (WTO)

Ambassador, Permanent Representative of Colombia to the World Trade Organization (WTO) and Deputy Representative of Colombia to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) since August 2019. In November 2019, he was appointed as Chairman of the WTO Negotiating Group on Rules, which includes negotiations on fisheries subsidies. He currently serves as a Member of the Board of Directors of the Advisory Centre on WTO Law (ACWL).

He has a high knowledge of international trade, particularly focused on multilateral trade regulation, multilateral and bilateral trade dispute settlement mechanisms and procedures, as well as the development of international trade policy.

Prior to his appointment as Ambassador, he served in the Colombian private sector as Director of International Trade and International Investment Protection at the law firm Lewin & Wills Abogados (Bogotá, Colombia). In addition to his experience in the private sector and international organizations, such as the WTO, Mr. Wills has served in the Colombian public sector, both at the Colombian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as Counsellor for External Relations to the Colombian Embassy in Canada, and at the Colombian Ministry of Trade, Industry and Tourism, as An Advisor to the Deputy Minister of Foreign Trade.

In addition, for nearly 10 years he has been professor of courses on international trade, WTO and international dispute settlement in various academic institutions, particularly the Universidad de los Andes (Colombia), and has published several academic articles in national media on these matters.

Mr. Wills is a lawyer at the Universidad de los Andes (Bogotá, Colombia) and has completed two Master's degrees in International Economic Law and Policy (IELPO); Advanced Legal Studies with an emphasis on International Economics of the University of Barcelona.


David Vivas Eugui, Legal Officer at the Trade, Environment, Climate Change and Sustainable Development Branch of UNCTAD

Lawyer with more than 25 years of experience in trade, environment, ocean economy, intellectual property and sustainable development. He was also Senior Economic Affairs Officer and Legal Officer at the Trade Negotiations and Commercial Diplomacy and Trade and Environment Divisions of UNCTAD, Deputy Director of Programmes at ICTSD; Senior Lawyer at CIEL; Attaché for Legal Affairs in the Venezuelan Mission to the WTO and Senior Attorney at the Venezuelan Institute of Foreign Trade.

He holds a J.D. degree from Andrés Bello Catholic University, Venezuela, an L.L.M. degree from Georgetown University in the United States and a Master’s degree in Transnational Business from the Universidad Externado, Colombia.

He has worked as an advisor and consultant for various institutions, international and national organizations such as WTO, WHO, UNCTAD, WIPO, IDLO, European Patent Office, GIZ, South Centre, ACP Group of States, ACP MTS, Rockefeller Foundation, Development Bank of Latin America, CUTS International, Saana Consulting, QUNO, AITIC, SPDA; ALIFAR, Venezuelan Ministry of Science and Technology.

He constantly participates in teaching and academic activities at the University of Strasbourg, WIPO DL Academy (Geneva), University of Business and International Studies (Geneva), University of Buenos Aires (Argentina), Universidad de los Andes and Universidad Javeriana (Colombia) and Universidad Católica del Perú.

Documents and links of interest
Galería de fotos