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MLCI Minister attended WTO Third Global Review of Aid for Trade

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22 July 2011 The Pacific's Aid for Trade requirements and challenges to trade within the region and internationally were recognized by the WTO Third Global Review of Aid for Trade in Geneva on Tuesday 19th July 2011 as presented by Tonga's Minister for Labour, Commerce, and Industries, Hon. Lisiate 'Aloveita 'Akolo.

2. With the WTO Global Review set out as the international forum to assess the mobilized development assistance to build trade capacity and infrastructure needs, the Pacific's participation alongside higher profile regions helped to address structural and capacity challenges to help its member countries effort towards trade opening such as the WTO existing members, those in accessions, and participants in regional trade agreements like PACER Plus, EPA and PICTA. Minister ‘Akolo stated to the Review that "most pressing for many countries in the Pacific given its geographical dispersion and distance from markets is the development of improved infrastructure for transportation and communications, in particular, our ports and wharves must be comprehensively improved if we are to be more competitive and move beyond being exporters of basic commodities."

3. In emphasizing the specific challenges faced in the region, Minister ‘Akolo further stressed Tonga's case of ‘Market Access Is Not Enough' and essential for the Pacific to strive for enhanced market access whilst at the same time identify and address the supply side issues which hamper export success such as lack of facilities, international sanitary and phytosanitary requirements, labeling and other supply capabilities. These issues were also addressed during the panel discussions and highlighted the importance of meeting quality standards and the value chains for agricultural exports based on Tonga's experience from competing in international markets for vegetables, bananas, watermelons to New Zealand; squash to Japan and Korea; kava to Fiji, Australia, New Zealand, the USA and Europe. These lucrative markets have been eroded owing to capacity gaps and lack of improved transport infrastructures.

4. Greater attentions of the Global Review audiences were drawn to the importance of non-tariff barriers that are also challenging the Pacific, as they are the most difficult to address by the small economies of its member countries. A good example of this is the loss of the Pacific's international market for kava. The fortunes of the Pacific kava producers for exports to the EU estimated to cost the region €4 million each year have suffered as a result of import restrictions put in place by European Union member countries due to health concerns, despite a lack of scientific evidence, and best efforts of members of the scientific community.

5. The Aid for Trade need of the Pacific calls for a long-term, strategic assistance from our development partners to help the region trade more successfully with the rest of the world and to be more competitive, meet quality standards, well priced and well marketed. Its existing Aid for Trade Strategy sets out the framework under which we can initiate and coordinate the assistance required to help the Pacific meet the challenges discussed at the Global Review.

6. Tonga's Minister for Labour, Commerce, and Industries, Hon. Lisiate 'Aloveita 'Akolo's participation at the WTO Third Global Review of Aid for Trade was sponsored by the WTO and supported by the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat.

ENDS


Issued by the: Ministry of Labour, Commerce and Industries, Nuku'alofa, 2011. Released 21 July 2011.

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 02 August 2011 01:59 )  

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