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Tonga is hoping to sign more free trade agreements

Radio & TV Tonga, Nuku’alofa ,17/07/2018

Tonga is hoping to sign more regional and international Free Trade Agreements to get an easy access to overseas markets.

The CEO of the Ministry of Labour Edgar Cocker made the statement after he attended the Senior Trade officials’ meeting in Samoa last week.

He says works have been carried out to allow Tonga to adopt  the Pacific Island Countries Trade Agreement or PICTA to enable its local produce to reach the markets in the region with lover tariff rate.

Cocker says a lot of trade opportunities will be available for Tonga if they will be part of PICTA and other free trade agreements.

He adds with PICTA market opportunities will be available in New Caledonia, French Polynesia, Wallis and Futuna, American Samoa and other countries.

The CEO says exporting watermelon to the market in American Samoa will incur 20 per cent import duty and 15 per cent Cost Sales Tax or CST but if Tonga will adopt PICTA, then the duties imposed will be very little.

He adds many countries especially richer nations have put up trade barriers in order to protect their local businesses and with this situation, it makes it hard for a country like Tonga to reach their markets.

Edgar Cocker says Tonga signed the PACER Plus last year and works like declaring the Rules of origin among other works are needed.

He also highlighted the importance for Tonga to ratify the PACER Plus.

The CEO of Labour says New Zealand and Australia are to ratify PACER Plus in December and the Pacific Islands to ratify next year.

© Radio and Television Tonga News