Tonga calls for the Multilateral Trading System to create a level playing field which recognizes the vulnerabilities and advances the trade and development interests for small island developing states
Tonga joins other World Trade Organization (WTO) members in Geneva Switzerland for the Twelfth Ministerial Conference, which commenced on 12 June and will now run until 16 June 2022. Key trade topics for discussion include challenges facing the multilateral trading system, thematic sessions on response to emergencies (WTO response to the Pandemic including the TRIPS Waiver, Trade and Food security and World Food Programme), Fisheries subsidies negotiations, Agriculture, WTO reform , e-commerce work programme and moratorium.
Tonga’s intervention during the session on the challenges facing the multilateral trading system (12 June) called for more comprehensive dialogues on the modalities of the WTO reform and that the substance of the reform should be built upon the development of international trade, accelerate the attainment of the SDGs, pursued in a fair, transparent and equitable manner and reinforces the core development principles in the Marrakesh agreement. Tonga supported the work on the WTO reform to ensure that the organization is fully functional and provides a level playing field in world trade for all members especially the most vulnerable.
Tonga called on the WTO during the fisheries subsidies negotiations session (14 June) to provide an appropriate policy space that exempts small players whose share of global fish catch is minimal or rather inexistent, like those of small island developing states including my country, Tonga. The 2020 FAO data provide that Tonga’s current share of global marine capture fisheries production is 0.00% . Tonga also stressed to the chairman and WTO delegates that “we should not shy away from our responsibility to protect and sustain marine life and our oceans for current and future generations to come as highlighted under SDG 14.6. As the multilateral organization with the mandate of trade regulation, it is essential that we ensure that harmful subsidies are regulated to reduce overcapacity, overfishing and IUU”.
The Tonga delegation comprises of Mrs. Distaquaine Tu‘ihalamaka, CEO MTED (Head of Delegation) and Mrs. Esterlina ‘Alipate, Principal Trade Officer MTED.