19 Aug 2004

Oxfam wants WTO accession reviewed

3:53 pm on 19 August 2004

The non-government organisation, Oxfam, says a proper system of rules is needed to govern accession to the World Trade Organisation.

Barry Coates of Oxfam says small countries, such as Samoa, Vanuatu, and Tonga are being put under enormous pressure as they try to negotiate joining the trade body, with countries such as Australia and New Zealand.

He says it is an extremely unfair process.

"These Pacific Islands countries who would like to join have been put under what we would regard as unreasonable pressure and are facing very very extensive demands for opening up their economies in ways that we believe are to the advantage of the rich countries but not at all to the advantage of these quite vulnerable Pacific Island economies."