14 Jan 2005

Tongan PM calls for island alliance to boost trade

11:18 am on 14 January 2005

The Tongan prime minister says Pacific Island states should muster more joint strength to become an effective voice in global trade negotiations.

Prince 'Ulukalala Lavaka Ata has addressed representatives of small island developing states, or SIDS, at a United Nations summit.

Small island developing states want the World Trade Organisation to take into account their vulnerability, and distance from markets, when in trade negotiations.

The prince says increased foreign and domestic investment will further the development of island economies.

"Whilst it is understood multilateral trade issues remain contentious and ongoing, in order for it to have a real impact on SIDS countries, there is a real need for quality market access for our export products, particularly those derived from agriculture, fisheries as well as manufactured goods."