The Pacific island nation of Vanuatu yesterday opened a trade office in Hong Kong, angling itself as an offshore incorporation destination for mainland and Hong Kong firms.
The United States and Vanuatu established diplomatic relations in 1986, six years after Vanuatu's independence from France and the United Kingdom. The U.S. Ambassador to Papua New Guinea is also accredited to Vanuatu. U.S. representation is handled by the U.S. Embassy in Papua New Guinea. Peace Corps maintains a country office in Port Vila, Vanuatu. The United States and Vanuatu share a commitment to strengthening democracy, enhancing security, and promoting development.
The Vanuatu Government's main concern has been to bolster the economy, which is primarily agricultural. The United States is a major financial contributor to international and regional organizations that assist Vanuatu, including the World Bank, UN Children's Fund, World Health Organization, UN Fund for Population Activities, and Asian Development Bank (ADB). Peace Corps volunteers are assisting communities in Vanuatu in the areas of health and education. Peace Corps and USAID are cooperatively administering a small-grants project to assist communities in adapting to climate change. The United States provides security assistance training. Vanuatu was the recipient of a Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) $65 million compact which constructed two critical roads on the country’s most populous islands. This project has had a positive impact across a range of economic and social indicators from entrepreneuriship to health to women’s empowerment. With the opening of the USAID Pacific Islands Regional Office in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea in October, 2011, USAID will be providing development assistance related to climate change in Vanuatu. Vanuatu is one of the focus countries for the new five-year, $25 million Climate Change Adaptation Program for the Pacific, which will focus on assisting communities to adapt infrastructure, health systems, agricultural practices, and economic livelihoods to the new realities of climate change.