The Kingdom of Tonga is a Polynesian Pacific island nation. The relationship between the European Union and Tonga is governed by the EU-ACP Cotonou Partnership Agreement, which will soon be replaced by a successor Agreement. Tonga and the EU work together on a number of common values, interests and challenges, such as climate change, oceans and human rights, which they address in bilateral Political Dialogues, at various ACP-EU policy dialogues, and at global multilateral levels.
Tonga consists of an archipelago of 176 islands and a population of 107,000.
Tonga participates in comprehensive policy dialogues within the ACP-EU institutions from senior officials to parliamentary and ministerial levels. As a member of the UN Human Rights Council during 2020-2023, the EU cooperates closely with Tonga to ensure our shared commitment to universal values and human rights principles are upheld at the international level.
The EU and Tonga hold High-Level Political Dialogues to address common interests and challenges, such as climate change, oceans, human rights, development cooperation, economic and trade cooperation. The last Political Dialogue took place in Nuku’alofa, in April 2017.
Tonga and the EU are engaged in the Pacific region through the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) and Pacific Community (SPC). The Organisation of African, Caribbean, and Pacific States (OACPS) coordinates the ACP-EU policy dialogues.
The EU and Tonga apply a short-stay Visa Waiver Agreement, to encourage people-to-people contacts, boost tourism and invigorate business.
Tonga has been supported by the EU and its Member States through the Team Europe response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Economic and Trade Relations
Economic and Trade Relations between the EU and Tonga
Tonga is a Small Island Developing State (SIDS), categorised as Upper Middle-Income Country.
Tonga’s top exports are fish and crustaceans (33%), vegetables (20%), mineral fuels/oils (16%), oil seeds (11%), and edible fruits and nuts (5%).
Its top imports are mineral fuels/oils (21%), electrical machinery and equipment (13%), edible meat (9%), and construction machinery (6%).
Tonga benefits from the EU’s Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP) regime that reduces or removes import duties from many Tonga’s exports to the EU market. This helps developing countries such as Tonga to alleviate poverty and create jobs based on international values and principles, including sustainable development and human rights.
In 2018, Tonga officially requested its accession to the EU-Pacific Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), currently applied between the EU and Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Samoa and Solomon Islands. The EPA would give all Tonga’s products duty-free, quota-free access for all its products to the EU market — the world’s largest single market.
The European Union’s Development Cooperation with Tonga
Between 2014-2020, the European Union has supported a wide range of cooperation projects that have benefitted Tonga in its energy sector.