Diplomacy

PM highlights Fiji’s expectations on regional trade deal

Fiji wants PACER (Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations)Plus to have more ‘pluses’ in terms of its developmental aspects than is currently on offer. This was emphasised by the Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama during his contribution to the climate change and Pacer Plus at the 72nd session of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission […]

Salote Qalubau

May 17, 2016 9:44 am

Fiji wants PACER (Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations)Plus to have more ‘pluses’ in terms of its developmental aspects than is currently on offer.

PM Bainimarama at the UN General Assembly in April.
PM Bainimarama at the UN General Assembly in April.

This was emphasised by the Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama during his contribution to the climate change and Pacer Plus at the 72nd session of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) in Bangkok yesterday.

The Prime Minister said Fiji was well informed about the need for PACER Plus and or any other trade agreement for that matter to be a development agreement.

PM Bainimarama: “This essentially means securing long-term improved market access for goods, services and labour, preserving domestic policy space, especially the right to regulate for development purposes; and ensuring continued commitment to development cooperation from our traditional development partners who will be parties to the PACER Plus agreement,”

Mr Bainimarama said it was crucial that Fiji has a PACER Plus that provides binding commitments on labour mobility and development cooperation, together with market access.

PM Bainimarama: “In its current form – despite it being an integral part of the PACER Plus Agreement – this is not legally binding. In addition, although labour mobility has been discussed and provided for in the negotiations, it was relegated to an arrangement which is outside the Agreement and is not legally binding,”

The Prime Minister added that the PACER Plus chapters on Investment and Services, for example, could potentially constrain our domestic policy space to the extent that we might in future have serious difficulties.

PM Bainimarama: “We are still developing and these developed countries managed to attain the level they enjoy today because governments had a critical role to play in how they shape and implement a policy for development purposes,” he said.

PM Bainimarama said Fiji will continue to negotiate in order to seek a development orientated outcome of PACER Plus.

PM Bainimarama: “We very much believe that it has the potential be a model for how trade agreements can be the instrument of development and resilience building in the Pacific. But right now, there are not enough pluses for us to commit to PACER Plus,”

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