7 May 2011

Analyst says WTO will better protect Vanuatu's Ag exports

10:18 am on 7 May 2011

A policy and economic analyst from Vanuatu says joining the World Trade Organisation will give the county's agricultural exports more protection.

The government has decided to join the WTO, which aims to liberalise trade between countries by removing barriers like tariffs.

Opponents are concerned it will hurt local industry and make 'buying local' less attractive.

However, Department of Trade and Industry officer, Andrea Giacomelli, says once a country receives full membership it can put cases up in front of the WTO.

"We'll have a bigger voice in the international arena by the ability of making complaints on different issues with the WTO. Many member states in the EU some time ago put some ban on Kava and this pretty damaged the economy of Vanuatu especially of small farmers and so on."

Andrea Giacomelli says the ban was based on flimsy scientific evidence and if Vanuatu had belonged to the WTO they would have had a fair hearing.