Vanuatu is set to be the pilot country for a new database that will improve insights on trade to enable better policy and business decisions.

Vanuatu’s Director of Customs and Inland Revenue, Harold Tarosa and SPC Director of the Statistics for Development Division, Peter Ellis, signed a Data License Agreement on 21 April at the Oceania Customs Organisation’s Workshop that allows the Pacific Community (SPC) to access Vanuatu’s international merchandise trade data for the pilot.

The new database will automate the compilation of relevant and timely information from customs administrations on goods that are imported and exported.

It will enable governments, international agencies and donors to be more targeted in their response towards current challenges around food security, non- communicable diseases, negotiations on preferential trade agreements and economic management.

The database will also help researchers and other non-government parties better understand trade flows and development.

The project, a collaborative effort of the Pacific Community, the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, the Oceania Customs Organisation and the Melanesian Spearhead Group is assisted by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development and the United Nations Trade and Industry Statistics Section.

If the pilot is successful, the data will be stored in the Pacific Community’s Pacific Data Hub Indicator database and content will be harvested and displayed in the Pacific Data Hub main catalogue with direct access provided to all users.

The Pacific Data Hub (PDH) is a central repository and gateway to the most comprehensive collection of data and information about the Pacific and for the Pacific across key areas, including economic and population statistics, fisheries science, climate change adaptation, disaster risk reduction and resilience, conservation of plant genetic resources for food security, public health surveillance and human rights.