Fiji Stays Away from PACER Plus Talks

Fiji was excluded from the Pacific Forum PACER plus negotiations in January 2010. It doubts whether an agreement will benefit Fiji and sees no point in being involved now, at the late planning stage, assuming it is invited. Its exclusion has denied Pacific Island countries the opportunity to hear Fiji's concerns (that also will affect them) and permitted Australia, and to a lesser extent NZ,  to exert more influence  with Fiji (that has the Pacific's most developed economy) absent.

Repeka Nasiko reports in Fiji Live.

Minister for Trade and Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum says Fiji will not accept an invitation to join any PACER Plus agreements at its advance stages as it was not involved from the beginning.
Sayed-Khaiyum made these comments at the opening of the Pacific Regional Business Conference at the Radisson Resort in Nadi yesterday.

In his address, Sayed-Khaiyum said “there is no point negotiating trade agreements for the sake of negotiating a trade agreement.”
“Fiji certainly cannot accept that it would be asked to accede, or to join negotiations at an advanced stage, without having a say on all aspects of the package. Without Fiji’s regulators, policy-makers and negotiators being involved in entire process of PACER Plus negotiations, from beginning to the conclusion, we can safely assume that this agreement will not serve the interests of Fijian businesses or the Fijian people,” he said.

Sayed-Khaiyum adds success in trade and business opportunities should not be measured by the number of empty and ineffective trade agreements signed.

“We must measure these by the quality of such agreements - agreements which drive growth and development; agreements which are determined by a true analysis of costs and benefits: and, agreements which are implemented with ease at both the technical and political levels.”

Fiji was removed from PACER Plus talks in January 2010.


Anonymous said…
Old news Croz and a repeat of earlier posting (you posted his ful speach) and there where lots of comments.

I still can't beleive he is upset about not being involved but if invited has said Fiji will not particpate anyway. That is all together childish.
Proud Fijian said…
He made it clear - and is not childish.

Fiji wants to be involved but right from the beginning. Not in its advanced stage and if Fiji was invited at this late stage (because we wont benefit) Fiji wont participate.
Croz Walsh said…
@ Anonymous... It always surprised me when an adult uses "childish" to dismiss another's argument. Instinctively, I feel like asking who is being childish now. Next time, think of what you really mean by childish and use that term. You could also ask if Australia was being "childish" in excluding Fiji from the talks, and find a fitting term for that. Please use your name or a pseudonym.
Also a proud Fijian said…
@ Croz

OK let me re-phrase without using "childish". Clearly Fiji wanted to be part of these talks otherwise the AG and others would not have made such a issue of it. So if the opportunity presents to take part, even in late discussions why discount or refuse that opportunity outright ? Late participation is better than no participation. Fiji is not forced to sign so it could realisticly take its time. These things do not move fast anyway (a bit like preparations elections - oops now I'm being childish). I would also add the AGs assumption that the only weaker country should benefit is wrong. A good free trade agreement should benefit both countries. I don't think he really beleives that a agreement with say Samoa should only benefit Samoa just because Samoa is the small county.

I have used a pseudonym as requestion. Is the no anonymous rule back in play or just for me ?
Croz Walsh said…
@ Also ... Good! Now people can discuss what you have to say, and the pseudonym will help the discussion if there is more than one Anonymous. I'd also like to see people keep to their chosen pseudonym. In this way discussants over different postings will become familiar with each other, and each others general position. This should result in more useful exchanges. BW , Croz
Avatar said…
@ Also a Proud Fijian @ 7.30pm 28 Jun 2011

Ya, Fiji wanted to be part of these talks as an equal member, and as an member with sufficeint regional assets to boot. So if Australia and the Forum countries decide to exclude Fii, and then expect Fiji to join them at some later stage of the neogtiations, then are these countries not being arrogant in their approach to Fiji?

Lets face the facts squarely; the Forum needs Fiji more than Fiji needs the Forum! PERIOD.

Fiji's most strident critic (the Forum SG, Neromi Slade) is now asking Fiji to support his extension for another 3 year term!

We wish him all the best coz bottom line is, if Fiji is not part of the Forum, then why should it waist its time in anything to do with the Forum?

Fiji should not renew his visa to remain and work in Fiji. Many people in Fiji think that the Forum is irrelevant in any case...and that Fiji should return the Forum a favour....dont renew the visa's of foreigners who work there.

When they leave under the baton of Neromi Slade and his master Tuilepa, Fijians will be happy to go sing 'Isa Lei' as they sail off into the sunset to Apia (oh gosh) and (heaven forbid) that back water, Nukualofa!

Meantime, Fiji will steam on ahead
Bula Malaya said…
I have this suspicion that the so-called writers to the Editor are fake. I base it on my observations of the editorial and opinion sections of Fiji's dailies. There is =, at any time, a select group of persons who use the Letters sections to express their views. Granted, there are others, but this select group tends to dominate the fora. A couple of them have openly been supportive of the IG.

Now the interesting thing is, none of the letter writers to the Fiji Update or whatever it's called have been heard of! Fiji is a small country, and such a coincidence looks more than a little sus.

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