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Tonga hosts the National Workshop on SPS, TBT and TEA Agreement

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29th May 2018 The Chief Executive Officer for MAFF Dr. Viliami Manu opened a three-day national workshop on Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS), Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) and Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) at Tungi Colonnade this morning.

The three-day event is hosted by Tonga’s Trade Division aiming to build capacity of the current workforce, both public and private sector to be actively engaged in the activities of the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Dr. Manu expressed his sincere gratitude to the WTO for their ongoing commitment to provide equally to all its 164 members however big and small such as Tonga to the forefront of the current latest development of WTO.

“Tonga became a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) on the 27th of July 2007 and with that membership comes obligations which filter down to our various ministries and the private sector as respective duties and responsibilities to international trade.”

“All international trade comes with risks, and rules are formulated to address those risks. For trade in agricultural and food products, rules or standards are set by the International Plant Protection Commission, the World Commission for Animal Health OIE and the Codex Alimentarius Commission. These international standards are set, agreed and adopted by all members of each Commission of which all traders of the 164 members of WTO must comply with as rules of trade. Tonga was fortunate enough to have gone through a number of similar workshops before and after 2007”, he added.

He told the gathering that due to the rapid changes and the significant developments in WTO every year coupled with the high turn-over of civil servants staff of all ministries, the WTO’s workshops has never failed to educate everyone new and old, there is always something new to learn with each workshop such as this one.

He also said that Tonga’s geographical location within the Pacific cyclone belt and its close proximity to the Tonga Deep Ocean Trench, Tonga ranked second in the world as the most inherently prone country to natural disaster with an annual cyclone season coupled with volcanic eruption, earthquakes, tsunamis and El nino droughts.

“To date, Tonga is still recovering from the long-term impact of the El nino drought in 2014 and was recently pounded earlier in February by a category-4 cyclone Gita. Their effects on trade are an eye opener, the market price of the drought-vulnerable kava sky rocketed 7 to 10 times, the drought and cyclone tolerant cassava dominates the trade in root crops, and the cyclone-vulnerable coconut market price rises.”

Dr. Manu urged the need for participants to learn all that is possible to extract as much as they can and all of which will be used later on in our various duties and responsibilities in fulfilling respective obligations to WTO as well as to all trading partners, traders, consumers and the people of Tonga.

Present at the opening ceremony were the Counsellor/Secretary for WTO TBT Committee, Mr. Erik Dijkstrom and Michael Roberts, Acting CEO for MCCTIL, Mrs. Mele Vunipola, Reverend Pulonga ‘Iki and guests.


Issued by the Ministry of Meteorology, Energy, Information, Disaster Management, Environment, Climate Change and Communication


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