Fiji calls for full implementation of PICTA
September 22, 2012 1:15 am
Fiji is calling on the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat to step up its efforts in implementing PICTA – the Pacific Islands Country Trade Agreement.
The call comes from Permanent Secretary for Trade Shaheen Ali while opening the Fiji Export Seminar this morning.
Ali says with PICTA– the challenges are almost insurmountable.
He says the agreement should be implemented or it will be subsumed by other trade agreements such as the EP with the EU or PACER Plus with Australia and New Zealand.
Ali says Fiji still values PICTA as an essential tool for regional integration and is willing to work with member states and the Forum Secretariat to overcome the challenges.
He adds – while Pacific market is a lucrative one…penetration into the market has been slow due to high import tariffs, stringent biosecurity requirements and high freight charges.
On average Fiji exports $105 million per year to Pacific Island countries which is approximately 10 per cent of our total exports.
Only a small percentage of this trade has taken place under any regional trade agreement that is currently in place for example… 30 per cent of Fiji’s export to MSG countries have been under the MSG Trade Agreement.