10 Aug 2004

Commonwealth advises small countries to join WTO

3:14 pm on 10 August 2004

The Commonwealth Secretary General, Don McKinnon, is advising small Pacific States yet to join the WTO to seek its membership.

Last week, NGOs meeting in Samoa called for a freeze on the accession of more Pacific nations to the body until there is a clear understanding of what impact membership will have.

But Mr McKinnon says it is better for the small nations to be inside the group and acting collectively.

But he says he does understands that small nations face difficult concessions as part of joining up.

"Those are points of negotiation which any country would want to deal with during the time they are applying for WTO membership. In fact from a Commonwealth points of view we have supplied, by way of consultants, international trade negotiators to help countries manage their way thorough the highways and byways of obtaining WTO membership to make sure they don't lose everything in the process."

The Commonwealth Secretary General, Don McKinnon,