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 Chana, 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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