10 Jul 2006

Dialogue over Vanuatu WTO accession set to re-start

2:05 pm on 10 July 2006

Discussions on Vanuatu's accession to the World Trade Organization look set to formally re-start.

The Daily Post reports that the Director General of the WTO Secretariat in Geneva, Switzerland, Pascal Lamy, recently spoke with the Minister of Trade James Bule over related international policy issues.

Vanuatu's Government had to shelf an agreed package in 2001 due to disagreements within the retail, services and telecommunication sectors.

Vanuatu believes the sectors are very sensitive and such agreements must be undertaken in a very cautious manner instead of exposing them to swift liberalisation.

The country's accession has been on the WTO agenda for six years and at the last WTO Ministerial meeting in Hong Kong in December 2005, Mr Bule reaffirmed his Government's strong support and willingness to re-start the dialogue.

A Council of Minister's paper regarding Vanuatu's accession issues is currently with the Minister of Trade and is expected to be tabled in the Council for further consideration sometimes this year.