20 Jun 2011

Critics say Vanuatu government has no mandate to join WTO

4:48 am on 20 June 2011

Critics of the Vanuatu government's plan to join the World Trade Organisation say it has no mandate to join the organisation, which aims to liberalise trade.

The accession package being negotiated with the WTO has been secret until recently and the head of a women's investment scheme, John Salong, says it's clear that what the government is committing to doesn't protect the interests of the people.

He says the government has no right to do anything which locks Vanuatu into long-term commitments.

"The Vanuatu government does not have the mandate from the population of Vanuatu to be taking Vanuatu into the WTO. No political party ever put it in their platform in the 2008 elections."

John Salong says chiefs, unions, manufacturers and women's groups have expressed opposition.