It is important that the Pacific aid for trade strategy is established to help define a long-term trade and infrastructure need, says acting Prime Minister and Minister for Industry and Trade Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.
Speaking at the Pacific African Caribbean Pacific meeting in Nadi yesterday, he said the Pacific Regional Trade and Development Facility — which had already been endorsed by trade ministers — provided the best mechanism, as a region, to identify our own development needs.
"We cannot let others determine these needs and priorities," Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said.
"We need to finalise the memorandum of understanding on this facility immediately and show the EU that we have an institution in place that is developed by the Pacific, for the Pacific, to be managed by the Pacific."
Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said there was a need to play a larger role in the way development aid flowed into the PACP region.
He said it was important to work together with development partners to identify needs and ensure the available resources were prioritised accordingly.
"Fish is an especially important export for Pacific ACP states.
"So it is worth returning to the EPA for a moment to discuss the global sourcing provisions for fresh, frozen and chilled fish and the Fisheries Chapter. These are absolutely key components of a development-friendly and balanced agreement.
"Through global sourcing for the fisheries industry, the region will be able to pool its resources and enter into joint ventures to attract onshore investment and develop infrastructure. This will allow all the countries of our region to share the benefits of our fisheries more equally.
"It is not acceptable therefore, for the EU to try to tie global sourcing for fresh, frozen and chilled fish as well as global sourcing for processed and cooked fish, which is already granted under the interim EPA, to gain access to our fisheries resources.
"As a region, we understand that a prosperous future depends upon being responsible with the resources we are blessed with, so that they can continue to support our peoples for generations to come."
(Source: The Fiji Times)