From a Tuvaluan perspective, economic contexts constrain the nation’s engagement in profitable trade in goods although, under the right conditions, trade in goods can promote development objectives, especially when niche export markets are developed. For trade in services, labour mobility and migration are key to the system of remittances underpinning Tuvalu’s economy and maintaining family ties. Trade and labour mobility and migration exist in dialogue with the Tuvaluan value of surviving in difficult conditions (fenua o tagata), which suggests the need to be creative in adverse situations. For example, Tuvalu’s limited trade capacity may be overcome by a move toward digital trade in goods, while labour mobility can benefit from opening up new markets and employment opportunities.

Identify Greater Trade and Labour Opportunities in Traditional and New Sectors

The Government will continue to explore different trade export markets and labour migration opportunities through multilateral and bilateral engagements. Tuvalu will pursue strategic negotiations with development partners like New Zealand and Australia to fortify and streamline existing schemes while also engaging with other partners like the EU in identifying new opportunities. For labour mobility, it is critical that labourers working abroad are employed in occupations where the skills they learn can be applied to Tuvalu’s development when they return home.

Identifying new sectors for trade and labour mobility also entails moves toward developing e-commerce preparedness and digital trade in services. These efforts will benefit local businesses and the economy and overcome the traditional problem of Tuvalu’s “geographic remoteness” from major markets.

Make Trade and Labour Mobility and Migration More Convenient

Tuvalu recognises that connectivity, whether digital or physical, is of paramount importance to trade and mobility. Tuvalu will continue to negotiate for less expensive and more convenient modes of transport in and out of the capital and Tuvalu’s eight Outer Islands. Additionally, developing connectivity throughout Tuvalu via enhanced ICT, e-commerce, digital trade, and e-banking will ensure that migrating labourers can more easily contact their families and transfer money and will further facilitate trade in goods.