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Press Release 98/65

PRESIDENT OF ICELAND VISITS FAO HEADQUARTERS - CALLS FOR MORE INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION IN FISHERIES


Rome, 4 November - The sustainability of fish stocks is a "fundamental part of a global food strategy for the new century," the President of Iceland, Olafur Ragnar Grimsson, said in a speech to diplomats accredited to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) today.

President Grimsson called for the conclusion of multilateral and regional agreements on preserving those fish stocks, that go beyond the national boundaries of the 200-mile economic zones. He also said, that the various systems of state subsidies to the fishing sector in both developed and developing countries should be abolished: "The abolition of these subsidies should therefore be a specific topic in the next round of World Trade Organization (WTO) negotiations."

According to the President, a global system of free trade in fish and fish products should be established, and import quotas, custom duties and technical trade hindrances should be abolished. The interest and well-being of fish consumers should be secured by introducing sound systems of quality control throughout the world, he said.

President Grimsson suggested that "more agreements, treaties and codes of conduct must be negotiated and approved. To initiate and further such results, no other institution is as well placed as FAO."

President Grimsson underlined that "Iceland is probably the only developed country which has succeeded in building a highly profitable market-oriented fishing industry without a system of state subsidies and without destroying the fish stocks. The global market orientation and the absolute emphasis on sustaining the fish stocks are the two fundamental pillars of the Icelandic success story."

President Grimsson, who was also accompanied by the Minister of Fisheries, discussed with FAO Director-General Dr. Jacques Diouf a series of agricultural, fisheries and development issues.

The President was briefed on the activities of the FAO Fisheries Department and of the Women in Development Service.

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