There is a growing consensus that international trade plays a central role across the life cycle of plastics.

Fiji in joining the global effort to reduce the use of single use and other forms of plastics, co-sponsored with China a discussion in the World Trade Organisation (WTO) on finding durable solutions to addressing plastic pollution.

This discussion attempts to coherently examine the role of trade and trade policies in supporting both domestic and international efforts in transitioning to more resource efficient and sustainable plastics economy.

This initiative by Fiji and China, is part of our ongoing efforts to protect our environment and oceans for sustainable development.

Co-chairing the meeting with the Ambassador of China, Ambassador Xiangchen Zhang, Ambassador Nazhat Shameem Khan, Fiji’s Permanent Representative to Fiji, said that for Fiji and the Pacific, plastics were a threat to the ocean, to fish, and to tourism, and that this was a chance for the global trading community and the WTO, to be on the right side of history.

She said that the WTO 12th Ministerial Conference, to be held in June this year in Kazakhstan, was an ideal opportunity to launch an initiative to save our environment from plastic pollution caused by environmentally unfriendly trade practices.

She said that the meeting was a result of the work of Dr Carolyn Birkbeck (pictured with Ambassador Khan) of the Graduate Institute of Geneva, the WTO, and China, and that she was very pleased that Fiji was leading the consultations with China.

A follow up meeting is planned for March, to coincide with the meeting of the WTO Committee on Trade and the Environment, with a planned event for the Ministerial Trade Conference in Kazakhstan in June.

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