Minister for Industry and Trade is convening a national workshop on 13-14 September, which will provide an opportunity for Fijian stakeholders to discuss and give their views on Fiji’s first Trade Policy Framework.
“The meeting will bring all the relevant stakeholders to identify Fiji’s trade challenges, opportunities and priorities and develop a comprehensive Trade Policy Framework on how to “connect all the dots” and address all the production, and supply-side constraints with the ultimate objective of enhancing Fiji’s competitiveness in international trade and maximizing the development benefits for the people of Fiji.
The Trade Policy Framework will help confirm Fiji’s rightful place as the trade hub of the Pacific and will utilise trade as a powerful tool to drive inclusive and sustainable economic growth and development” said the Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Industry and Trade, Mr Shaheen Ali.
In order to achieve the above-mentioned objectives, Fiji will consider strengthening the consultative mechanisms such as the existing Trade and Development Committee (TDC) that is coordinated by the Ministry of Industry and Trade to ensure that it is fully representative and adequately resourced to carry its functions and provide quality and timely trade policy advice to the Government on all trade policy issues.
Mr Ali added that “such a multi-stakeholder mechanism would be tasked to help Fiji analyse all policies that will impact Fijian businesses before they are adopted by Government. For example, when Government reviews its import tariff structure, the multi-stakeholder committee will analyse the implications of any new policies in terms of revenue and impact on businesses, jobs and on the broader community and provide its recommendations to the Minister for Industry and Trade.
Fiji is also negotiating trade agreements such as the comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement with the European Union and this has implications on a wide range of policies and businesses. Once signed, the final agreement is a legally binding international treaty. Therefore, it is important that all stakeholders are aware of how this impacts them before the decision on the final agreement is made”.
Allocation of financial and technical resources is important to service this committee and carry out the necessary functions to ensure that the recommendations of the Trade Policy Framework are implemented. The composition of the multi-stakeholder committee and an implementation matrix outlining the aid for trade needs for Fiji, the timeframe and resources needed to implement the Trade Policy Framework are some of the issues that will be a discussed at the workshop on 13-14 September.
The workshop is indicative of the Bainimarama Government’s commitment in ensuring that an inclusive and practical Trade Policy Framework is put in place, which will form the blue print for Fiji on becoming a more competitive and dynamic economy.