16 Jan 2012

Acting head of state set to finalise Vanuatu's WTO accession

5:10 am on 16 January 2012

Vanuatu's Acting Head of State Esmon Sai is set to approve the controversial protocol for Vanuatu to join the World Trade Organisation.

According to the Daily Post, Mr Sai says he will sign the bill into law before the president, Iolu Abbil, returns to port Vila.

Mr Abbil has been abroad for medical treatment and the first Deputy Speaker; Dunstan Hilton, also left the country to attend the Commonwealth Speakers Conference in Port of Spain in Trinidad and Tobago.

Mr Sai, who holds the position of Second Deputy Speaker, said he would sign the Bill before the Head of State returns.

Before leaving for Australia, Mr Abbil reportedly sought private legal advice on the bill.

The move to join the WTO has been resisted by non-government groups and the churches.