FIJI TAKES OWNERSHIP OF TRADE-RELATED DEVELOPMENT

Caption:?Speaking to members of the media from left to righ, Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat Acting Secretary General, Mr Feleti Teo, Acting PM and Minister for Industry and Trade, Mr Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum and PS Industry & Trade Shaheen Ali.

Fiji and other Pacific Island nations are taking greater ownership of their trade-related development needs through a new body that will give them greater input into how aid flows into the region.

Today, Fiji became the latest Pacific ACP country to sign the Memorandum of Understanding establishing the Pacific Regional Trade and Development Facility.

?Today marks an important milestone in Fiji?s support of the growth of regional trade that will boost our economy and create jobs,? said Attorney-General and Minister for Industry and Trade Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.

He said that this independent and autonomous body gives Fiji and other Pacific ACP countries an unprecedented platform to work with development partners to identify trade-related development needs and ensure that available ?Aid-for-Trade? resources are targeted appropriately.

?The region cannot let others determine its trade-related development needs and priorities,? he said.

The Attorney-General said that the Facility will lead directly to better coordinated, more efficient and more effective Aid-for-Trade programs in the Pacific.

He also stressed that the Facility represents a Pacific approach.

?While individual Pacific countries may have specific or unique requirements, we also face many common challenges and share many areas of common interest, which this Facility will promote for the benefit of all members,? he said.

The Attorney-General said that one of the ways the new Facility will be used will be to mobilise and coordinate the resources necessary to implement regional trade agreements.

The Attorney-General said that donors are called upon to channel Aid-for-Trade resources through this Facility, which will in turn provide trade-related assistance to PACP states in a timely and efficient manner.

Both regional projects and national projects with a regional impact will be considered for funding from the Facility.

The Facility will be managed by PACP states and will include development partners as members.

Vanuatu, Nauru, Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu and Kiribati have already signed the MoU. Today, Fiji became the seventh PACP country to sign the MoU.

MINFO