The private sectors in Fiji and the Pacific needs to reassert itself and let the government know what it wants says Dr Edwini Kessie, the Chief Trade Adviser for the Pacific.
Speaking at the second day of Trade Pasifika 2012 in Nadi yesterday, Dr Kessie said private sector should also be involved at all levels of trade negotiations, nationally and regionally.
The UNDP statement highlighted that while the implementation of regional trade agreements had been slow and the volume of trade not significant, those who traded under these agreements were making an important headway.
The Director of the Economic Governance Programme at Pacific Islands Forum Seceretariat, Shiu Raj said there has not been significant trade under Pacific Island Countries Trade Agreement.
However, he said those who are trading under PICTA have made gains.
Raj used the example of Cook Island pearls, which when imported into Fiji have 0 per cent duty, as both countries are party to PICTA, while pearls imported from French Polynesia have 32 per cent duty charged on them, making them more expensive for the consumer.
Speaking at the panel discussion, the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) Secretariat’s Mere Falemaka said, there are opportunities that exist to increase trade under the MSG trade agreement.
She urged MSG countries to take advantage of these agreements to increase the volume of trade.
The Trade Pasifika 2012 facilitated dialogue between the private sector, trade, export, and import specialists.
The meeting ends today.
By Ropate Valemei