1 Dec 2011

Bill ratifying Vanuatu WTO accession passes first reading

10:52 am on 1 December 2011

The bill to ratify Vanuatu's accession to the World Trade Organisation has passed its first reading in parliament.

However in what's believed to be a first in Vanuatu, a cabinet minister voted against government legislation.

The Minister of Justice, Ralph Regenvanu, joined the opposition for the in-principle vote on WTO membership.

The government won the vote 26 to 21 and the bill is scheduled for its final reading in parliament today.

There have been a series of delays in the parliamentary passage of the WTO bill.

This comes amid growing public opposition to the way Vanuatu is going about joining the trade body, with critics saying the people haven't been properly informed.