PAPUA New Guinea is amongst other Pacific Island countries excluding Fiji and Solomon Islands to have permanent representation in the World Trade Organisation.
This was revealed by the Secretary for Trade Commerce and Industry John Andrias yesterday.
Mr Andrias said however some are still in the process of establishing representation with the WTO.
He said PNG made a conscious decision to join the WTO and be part of the Multilateral Trading System (MTS) because it believes that the system provides security and stability in trade for all its members even more so for the smallest and most vulnerable economies.
“We believe the system was developed with the purpose of promoting prosperity for all its members,” he stated.
Therefore, Mr Andrias said Fiji and Solomon islands have a permanent representation in Geneva to help them so they have a mission.
PNG is represented from its Brussels mission and due to the distance they are not there on a day to day basis to attend to all the negotiations taking place in Geneva.
“We have done some submissions over the last three years, we have NEC endorsement but to date we are still looking at ways to get a mission established in Geneva because Geneva is a strategic location where you have the UN missions like WTO, ILO there so it will not be a mistake to have a permanent representation in Geneva where we will be able to safe guard our interests and also to look at ways to get more benefits and developments.
The rest of us who are members of WTO, rely on Pacific Islands Secretariat through Madam Mere Falemaka to represent us,” he said.
Mr Andrias said there is a small dedicated team in Geneva that monitors all the negotiations on all areas including export or fisheries subsidies issues which were not discussed or on the table over the last 16 years.
“So for us as a country and a region that that is dependent on fisheries, we are to ensure that there are proper rules and policies for us.
“Our interest is to be accommodated so we have to be in there to ensure that our interest in terms of policies and development aspirations are
all captured in the export subsidy rules that will be negotiated and accepted by all members once everyone agrees to it,” he said.