Tonga lies over 1000km north west of New Zealand in the Pacific. Tonga’s economy is dependent upon tourism, agriculture and remittances from Tongans working overseas.

Its isolation and small population create numerous problems,  which are made worse by unemployment and inequality. Oxfam New Zealand has been strengthening its presence in Tonga over the last few years, working to improve livelihoods in rural communities.

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Tonga: Blood from a stone

The tiny island Kingdom of Tonga in the South Pacific is about to make history, by joining the WTO on what are arguably the worst terms ever offered to any country. The appalling terms of Tonga’s accession package show that nothing has changed in the way the world’s smallest and most vulnerable economies are treated as they seek to join the WTO. It is a further demonstration that the fine words of the Doha Development Agenda mean nothing when pitted against the commercial interests of the world’s richest countries.

Tonga: Proposed WTO Accession: Key Issues for Tonga

A decade after applying to join the WTO, after long and difficult negotiations, the Tongan government is facing the decision of whether to sign up to join the WTO. This paper looks at key issues in that decision, and concerns over the terms of the deal that Tonga has negotiated so far. An overall comment is that Tonga is being asked to make commitments that go well beyond those of existing WTO members at similar levels of development. It is even being asked to do more than the richest members in some areas.

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