15 Jan 2005

Pacific states hope UN declaration will empower trade stance

10:10 am on 15 January 2005

Pacific Island countries are hoping a United Nations summit will persuade the international community to reinstate trade preferences to protect their economies.

The phase-out of trade quotas has compounded the problems of isolation and limited resources faced by many undiversified island economies.

In a new document known as the Mauritius Strategy, islands are being asked to take a bigger role in their own development, whilst donors have promised to provide technical assistance and recognise island vulnerability to disaster and trade globalisation.

The secretary-general of the meeting, Anwarul Chowdhury, says if they unite, the islands can use the strategy to push their aims at the World Trade Organisation.

The strategy urges all international bodies, including financial institutions, to pay attention to island needs, but is not specific and doesn't mention a timeframe.