Minister Urges Region to Be Vocal, Visible



The COVID-19 pandemic has severely affected almost all economies especially the Small Island Developing States (SIDS) of the Pacific region.
Speaking at the Special Virtual Forum World Trade Organization (WTO) Trade Ministers Roundtable on the upcoming selection of WTO Director General, Minister for Commerce, Trade, Tourism and Transport, Faiyaz Koya said this is an opportune time for the Pacific region to become more vocal and visible.
“We have more to contribute than just making numbers in the WTO, a strong Pacific trading bloc equals a strong multilateral system and a strong WTO,” he said.
“Never before have Pacific WTO Member states actively participated in scrutinising the candidates for the WTO D-G position.”
Minister Koya added that Director-General Roberto Azevêdo’s departure came at a critical time for the organization and the global trading system.
“The incoming D-G may not be able remove power politics from the WTO, but they can change how debates and negotiations are structured, starting by giving voice, recognition and equal platform to Small Island Developing States of the Pacific.”
“The successful candidate should be able to galvanise efforts towards finding an inclusive and balanced way-forward and offering a positive narrative for the organisation’s future role.”
Minister Koya further said that the roundtable discussion was a testimony of the growing commitment towards the multilateral trading system.
“This is why, it is important to put into perspective the way forward for multilateral trading system and where the Pacific fits into this equation.”
Minister Koya alongside Pacific Island Forum (PIFs) secretary general Dame Meg Taylor and permanent secretary for Commerce, Trade and Tourism, Transport, Shaheen Ali led the roundtable conference.