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Pacific Islands highlight their support for WTO results

10 December 2013

Bali, December 2013: The Pacific Forum Island Countries (FICs) WTO Ministers and Trade Officials recently met in Bali immediately before the commencement of the Ninth WTO Ministerial Conference (MC9) to agree on a Pacific position and the Pacific Statement to be delivered at the MC9.

Forum Trade Ministers at their meeting in July 2013 agreed that a joint FIC statement reaffirming the Pacific’s faith in the multilateral trading system be prepared for delivery at the MC9.

The FIC-WTO meeting was organised by the Pacific Islands Forum Representative Office to the WTO (Geneva Office) to assist the Pacific island countries to discuss key trade matters on the agenda for the MC9, including the Pacific’s perspectives on the future work of the WTO after the MC9 in Bali.

“Earlier this year, the Forum Trade Ministers agreed to formally establish a Pacific Islands WTO Group to coordinate and present FIC positions on issues of common interest in WTO, to be chaired by a FIC WTO Member on a rotating basis,” the Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, TuilomaNeroni Slade said. “The Pacific statement delivered at the MC9 was the first joint statement of the Pacific Islands WTO Group since its establishment.”

The Pacific meeting was chaired by Hon. Clay Forau, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade of the Solomon Islands and the Pacific Joint Statement was delivered by Hon. Forau at MC9.

“It is important for Pacific members to assess the implications of the Bali package on their economies,” says Hon. Forau. “While the Pacific welcomes the success at the MC9 in Bali, this success should result in meaningful benefits for our countries. The Pacific islands should also be provided with adequate capacity building assistance to help with compliance and export capacity.”

“The Least Developed Country (LDC) package endorsed in Bali, comprising of preferential rules of origin, services waiver and duty free quota free is important towards enhancing market access benefits for LDCs in increasing their trade in both goods and services. Three of the Pacific islands WTO Members are LDCsand they will be direct beneficiaries of the LDC package agreed to at the MC9.”

“The proposed monitoring mechanism for special and differential treatment for developing countries provides hope that more meaningful measures for strengthening trade of the developing Pacific countries will be found,” Hon. Forau stated.

“The Pacific region acknowledges the importance of the multilateral rules based system of the WTO in providing an inclusive process for smaller members, and the MC9 outcomes in Bali certainly acknowledge the realities of the smaller economies,” Tuiloma Slade mentioned.

“I am pleased that a clearly defined work programme will be developed in the next 12 months to determine how to take the Doha Development Agenda forward,” Hon. Forau added. “The Pacific islands countries are expected to benefit from the conclusion of the DDA, and other trade-related concerns of the Pacific such as the work on small vulnerable economies, fisheries subsidies, and trade and environment including climate change can be addressed.”

ENDS

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