30 Nov 2011

Opposition in Vanuatu boycotts government's WTO awareness session

7:10 am on 30 November 2011

Opposition MPs in Vanuatu have refused to take part in yesterday's parliamentary awareness session on the World Trade Organisation, saying it was an attempt to sway them to ratify the country's membership of the organisation.

The meeting was conducted by government trade officials ahead of a vote on ratification, though just when that will happen is not clear.

Opposition MP and former Cabinet Minister, Joe Natuman, says the time for public consultations has already passed.

This comes amid increasing concern at the government's lack of consultation with the general public about the impact of WTO membership.

It's not clear whether the ratification bill will be passed, given the 20 Opposition MPs saying they'll vote against it and reports that 8 Government MPs may swap sides over the issue.