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Tuvalu Eyes Trade to Promote Development

Tuvalu Eyes Trade to Promote Development

[Funafuti – 30 Jan, 2013] Tuvalu is looking to trade to achieve some of its key development objectives, including alleviating poverty. The Tuvalu Government is seeking to achieve this through the Trade Capacity Building and Institution Strengthening project, launched today. The project will assist the Department of Trade, the private sector and civil society in strengthening their capacities to formulate, implement and assess trade policies.

A Diagnostic Trade Integration study conducted in 2010 shows that Tuvalu has the potential to increase its import earnings while at the same time improve the quality of life of the people through increased livelihood opportunities and food security. However, before it can do so, its policies and processes need to be strengthened. The target areas are those that are currently bringing in foreign exchange. This includes its labor mobility market, for example, seamen working in foreign owned vessels, and earnings from fishing licenses.

A modern, coherent, sustainable and inclusive trade policy is essential for Tuvalu’s integration into the global trade arena. The policy should be aligned to the national development policies, addressing climate change, poverty reduction, health and food security that voice the aspirations of the population at large, including women and vulnerable groups. The project aims to better prepare the country in terms of its negotiations in regional and international forums and in exploring opportunities for better returns for its citizens. Key to this is the capacity building of government institutions working in the area of trade; developing trade policies that support poverty reduction, inclusive economic growth and equitable sustainable development; as well as supporting the private sector, civil society and other stakeholders to enhance trade. The project will also help improve donor coordination, and Aid for Trade in line with the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness.

The Tuvalu Trade Capacity Building and Institution Strengthening will be managed by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and implemented through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Trade, Tourism, Environment and Labour. The project, which has received USD$1.1 million funding from the Enhanced Integrated Framework for Trade Related Activities in Least Developed Countries (EIF) – a multi donor trust fund based in WTO Geneva, will run for three years and end in 2015. The project was launched in Tuvalu today by the Deputy Prime Minister and the Acting Minister for the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, Hon. Kausea Natano, together with the UNDP Deputy Resident Representative Ms. Akiko Fujii. Prime Minister Hon. Willy Telavi and his wife were also present at the launch.

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