Permanent Delegation of the Pacific Islands Forum to the World Trade Organisation
The Permanent Delegation of the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) to the World Trade Organization (WTO) is based in Geneva, Switzerland. It was established in 2004 based on a 1999 mandate of the PIF Leaders. At that meeting, Leaders recognised the significant impact of WTO rules on the economic development of the FICs, and agreed to establish a presence in Geneva to represent the region’s interests.
The PIF Geneva Office represents and assists Forum Island Country (FIC) WTO Members to engage more fully with the WTO, including through negotiation and implementation of multilateral trade rules, and plays an important role in strengthening their trade capacity.
Six FICs are full WTO members – Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu. Fiji and the Solomon Islands are the only two FICs with Geneva-based Permanent Missions to the WTO. Non-resident FIC WTO members are represented by their accredited Embassies/Missions based in Brussels or London or by capital-based officials.
In April 2017, the PIF Geneva Office commenced an Aid-for-Trade work program. This is to assist all FICs to identify and access Aid-for-Trade opportunities by strengthening partnerships with Geneva-based and (to a lesser extent) EU-based organisations, with the view of enhancing their trade capacities.
The PIFS Geneva Office is co-located with the PT&I Geneva Office
The role of the PIFS Geneva Office is to:
- Provide high-quality technical advice and assistance to FIC stakeholders on matters relating to WTO negotiations, and implementation of existing WTO Agreements;
- Provide support, including representing the common interests of FIC governments at the WTO, as and when mandated by the FICs;
- Support Ministerial and Official attendance at WTO Ministerial meetings;
- Maintain close liaison with Geneva-based FIC Permanent Missions and work collaboratively with FIC Embassies/Missions based in Europe, in particular Brussels and London, to enhance representation of FIC trade interests in the WTO and in the Africa Caribbean Pacific – European Union (ACP-EU) arena;
- Assist FICs to identify and access Aid-for-Trade and trade capacity development opportunities; and
- Provide, as and when necessary, on-the-job training including facilitating work attachment programmes for FIC representatives or interns in the office (on a rotational basis).
The Geneva Office is headed by Permanent Representative, Ambassador Mere FALEMAKA, and is supported by three staff, namely Mr Alex KERANGPUNA, Trade Policy Officer, Dr Andrea GIACOMELLI, Trade Policy and Aid-for-Trade Advisor, and Ms Lorraine MAIRE, Administrative Assistant.