Tuesday 17th Oct, 2017

Fiji urged to join trade pact

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THE PACER Plus agreement is on the agenda for assistant trade minister Keith Pitt’s trip to Fiji this week.

In a keynote speech he is expected to give at the Australia-Fiji Business Forum, which is being held today, Mr Pitt is expected to urge Fiji to join the Agreement, which has so far been signed by Australia and 10 other Pacific countries.

“PACER Plus will make it easier for businesses to trade and invest across the Pacific region,” M he said.

The PACER Plus agreement, or the Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations Plus, is a comprehensive free trade agreement aimed at fostering development in the Pacific. Negotiations were concluded in April of this year in Brisbane.

The agreement was signed in the following month in Nuku’alofa by Australia, Cook Islands, Micronesia, Kiribati, Nauru, New Zealand, Niue, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Tuvalu. Vanuatu agreed to sign on in late August.

Fiji and Papua New Guinea have so far declined to join the agreement.

While in Fiji, Mr Pitt also met with the country’s trade minister Faiyaz Koya to discuss bilateral trade and investment issues.

Bilateral trade between Australia and Fiji was valued at $1.86bn in 2016, according to information published by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Merchandise exports to Fiji from Australia have increased in value by 14.2% from 2015 to 2016 to $421,000, and merchandise imports from Fiji have increased in value 2.4% over the same period to $190,000.

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