New Zealand Permanent Mission Geneva, Switzerland

New Zealand Supports Tonga’s Trade Policy Review Geneva Switzerland

John Adank, NZ Permanent Representative (center); (to his left) Hon Viliami Latu, Tongan Commerce Minister; (to his right) Aminiasi Kefu, Tongan Solicitor General; and the rest of the Tongan delegation at the WTO in front of the tapa gifted by Mike Moore.

The New Zealand delegation in Geneva was delighted to support Tonga’s first ever WTO Trade Policy Review process, held at meetings on 11-13 February.  New Zealand Permanent Representative to the WTO, John Adank, was discussant for the review, highlighting key features of Tonga’s trade policy framework and the actions they had taken to implement their WTO obligations since becoming a member of the WTO in 2007. 

The Review served to underline the challenges Tonga faces as a small island developing country, still very dependent on remittances and development assistance, to develop its trading potential.  Tonga was commended for its open trade regime and the commitment it had shown to implementing reforms of its trade economic framework in order to accede to the WTO, despite its political and other challenges over recent years.  The chair’s concluding statement can be found here at the WTO Web Site

The Tongan delegation, headed by Minister of Commerce, Tourism and Labour, Hon Viliamu Latu,  was surprised and delighted to find on display within the World Trade Organisation building a large piece of traditional Tongan tapa cloth.  Mike Moore,  former Director-General, had gifted the Tongan tapa cloth to the World Trade Organisation some years ago. The special commemoration plaque reads: “I am giving to the World Trade Organisation this gift of a traditional tapa cloth from the Kingdom of Tonga in the Pacific Islands in appreciation of the cooperation and friendship I have received from staff. I hope it might also stand as a reminder of the needs of our smaller and more vulnerable Members. Mike Moore Director-General of the WTO 1999-2003” 

The New Zealand delegation performed a waiata for the Tongan delegation at the reception celebrating the conclusion of their Review. A haka was also performed by the visiting Ngati Ranana cultural group from London to assist the New Zealand Mission with Waitangi Day celebrations in Geneva.

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