In an effort to strengthen trade policies, the Government of Vanuatu and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Fiji on behalf of the six multi-lateral agencies for the Integrated Framework (IF) for Trade have signed a US$1 million programme for 2008-2012.
In addition to UNDP, which plays the facilitating role, other IF partners include the International Monetary Fund (IMF), United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, The World Bank Group, International Trade Centre and the World Trade Organization (WTO).
The aim of the IF which forms part of the recently signed UNDP Country Programme Action Plan in Vanuatu for 2008-2012, is to assist the country in enhancing its trade capacity and policy framework to ensure the long-term sustainability of Vanuatu’s trade policies.
It also helps in anchoring the process of trade reforms in society, enables the development of alliances amongst a wide range of actors and fosters an environment for continuous capacity building. The IF strives to use trade as a catalyst for growth more effectively.
The programme’s activities in Vanuatu will include setting up of the Trade Development Unit (TDU) facilitating a coherent Trade Act and the review of the Import Duties Act.
The TDU will work closely with the various partners such as the Department of Trade, Customs and Revenue Department and the Cooperatives Department to implement various activities prioritized.
The IF is a country driven process leading to the integration of trade policy into the overall national development strategies.
It also looks at coordinating delivery of Trade-Related Technical Assistance (TRTA) by all development partners including the donor community in response to the needs identified by the Least Developed Countries (LDCs). The European Union (EU) is the donor facilitator for the IF in Vanuatu.
UNDP and its partners are also undertaking similar initiatives this year in the Solomon Islands, Tuvalu and Kiribati.