31 Oct 2014

Fiji keen on renewal of SPARTECA

4:22 pm on 31 October 2014

Fiji has called for better access to the Australian market by extending the SPARTECA agreement which is due to expire at the end of the year.

Frank Bainimarama

Frank Bainimarama Photo: Republika

The call was made by Fiji's prime minister, Frank Bainimarama, in an address to the Fiji-Australia Business Council Forum in Suva.

SPARTECA provides preferential access for garments and footwear from the Pacific to Australia and New Zealand to help reduce their trade imbalance.

In his speech, the Fiji leader said since the election there has been growing support from the business community and investors who are being urged to join Fiji's boom.

He says over the past five years, Fiji's economy has on average grown by about 3.2 percent and last year by 4.6 percent.

However, Mr Bainimarama says in recent years trade with Australia declined, but that was made up by new relationships with Malaysia, Indonesia and China.

The Australian foreign minister, Julie Bishop, who is due in Suva today, says she has lifted the remaining sanctions on Fiji.

However, Suva and Canberra have failed to reinstate high commissioners despite a 2012 commitment by the two countries' foreign ministers to restore full diplomatic ties.