20 Jun 2011

Businesspeople told PACER Plus trade deal without Fiji has no validity

7:16 pm on 20 June 2011

Fiji's interim regime says any agreement which excludes Fiji will be ineffective for the region's trade and development.

The interim minister for Trade and Industry was speaking to business people in Nadi who'd gathered to look at the regions's Pacer Plus agreement currently being negotiated.

Sally Round reports.

"Fiji has been excluded from formal talks between Pacific Island Forum countries on the PACER Plus trade and economic treaty, but member countries have committed to keeping Fiji informed. Fiji's interim Trade and Industry Minister Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum told the Australia Pacific Islands Business Council meeting that because Fiji hasn't been involved in the negotiations it's safe to assume it won't serve the interests of Fijians. He says Fiji can't accept it would be asked to join the talks at an advanced stage without having a a say on all aspects of the package. Mr Sayed Khaiyum says the focus should first be on implementing regional and sub-regional treaties like the Melanesian Spearhead Group Trade Agreement instead of new agreements with what he called dubious benefits."