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Trade policy training a boost for Pacific Islands

The World Trade Organisation (W.T.O.) regional trade policy training in progress at the Taumeasina Island Resort will enable the six Pacific member countries to improve their trading policy for their benefit. 

Speaking to the Business team, Faustin Mukela Luanga, Counsellor and Head of the Asia and Pacific Desk of the W.T.O. Institute for Training and Technical Cooperation, said there are issues that needs to be addressed and the workshop will allow discussions and present propositions to address these issues. 

“W.T.O. is an institution that deals with multilateral trading system, how countries trade among themselves to avoid any kind of discrimination when it comes to trade, how to make trade benefit all the members because we all know from an economic standard view that trade is good for economic development and economic growth, so how to benefit from that,” Mr. Luanga said. 

“Take for example small isolated island countries like in the Pacific where they are far away from the major markets, so distance becomes a cost, to counter that how to facilitate trade in the Pacific, our Pacific countries can benefit with the partnership with the rest of the world, so this workshop will help address those areas.” 

The workshop is funded by the W.T.O. Secretariat and there are five representatives from six W.T.O. member countries – Samoa, Fiji, Tonga, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, and Papua New Guinea, with Samoa having 10 representatives. 

“The objective is to train the participants and to allow them to gain capacity to being negotiators because when it comes to trade, it is to with negotiation, how do you trade, how do you formulate policy that is compatible for your development goal, how do you frame the trade policy of your country that reflect your multilateral commitment with the rest of the world,” Mr. Luanga said. 

“So for that, we need to train them and provide them with necessary skills that will allow them to understand the interest of their country, but to discuss and come together as a group of Pacific countries sharing common interest of the Pacific and frame a policy that will at least sell them and at the end attract investment and transform the economy, whether it’s fisheries, tourism, which are some sectors the Pacific has comparative advantage.”

This is the first training to be held in Samoa and in the future some of the participants will travel to Geneva for more training.

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