17 Mar 2009

Vanuatu Trade Minister defends WTO accession

11:10 am on 17 March 2009

Vanuatu's Trade Minister, James Bule, has defended the government's move to join the world Trade Organisation, or WTO.

The government recently re-entered negotiations for its accession to the WTO after pulling out of the process in 2001 citing "technical reasons".

However some local NGOs and politicians have questioned what benefit the country will get from joining the WTO.

Policy analyst John Salong says that if the government is serious about improving trade for ordinary ni-Vanuatu, it should first look at improving the internal infrastructure for market access.

However Mr Bule says joining the WTO is important as it offers a wide range of privileges to Vanuatu, as a country with Least Developed Country or LDC status.

"We need to join so that we can be provided with those assistance. And now we are enjoying the IF programme (Integrated Framework) which is one of the (examples of) assistance that is provided by WTO, funds put aside by WTO specifically to LDCs to address the trade."

Trade Minister James Bule.