CAPTION: Permanent Secretary for Industry and Trade Mr Shaheen Ali. Photo: SHALENDRA PRASAD.
The Ministry of Industry and Trade, with assistance from Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, is in the process of reviewing and refreshing Fiji’s Trade Policy Framework.
Work on the renewing the Fijian Trade Policy Framework commenced with the approval and guidance provided by the Attorney General and the Minister for Industry and Trade, in July 2013.
The first stage of the process involves consultations with all relevant stakeholders from the public and private sectors and the civil society, stated the permanent secretary for Industry and Trade, Mr Shaheen Ali.
“The purpose of a national Trade Policy Framework is to enhance the participation of the private sector in the Fijian economy and promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth. The ultimate goal is to create employment and raise the standard of living for all Fijians” said Mr. Ali.
“The Ministry, with the assistance from the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, is undertaking one-on-one consultations with key stakeholders on the Framework. This process began in June with the consultant, Professor Robert Scollay, meeting key stakeholders. The stakeholders were given opportunity to identify gaps and constraints in their sector, which will be taken into account under the Trade Policy Framework”, added Mr. Ali.
“The Trade Policy Framework will assist in identifying Fiji’s trade priorities and directing resources where it is needed and addressing supply-side constraints in the production of goods and services that Fiji has potential to export competitively in the global market”, said the Permanent Secretary.
“A well-designed Trade Policy Framework can support the competitiveness of Fijian firms at each stage of the supply chain by creating efficient infrastructure services, promoting exports and foreign investment, improving access to inputs and capital goods and moving goods across borders effectively by addressing export market issues. The Framework can also address the inherent and overriding constraints faced by both public and private sectors, at every stage of production and distribution of goods and services for export”, Mr Ali said.
Mr Ali further stated that following the intensive stakeholder consultations, the Ministry has organised a National Consultation Workshop on Friday, 19 July 2013 at Devos on the Park.
The workshop will be an opportunity for the private sector, policy makers and other interested stakeholders to contribute to the development of Fiji’s first Trade Policy Framework and achieving Fiji’s vision of improving its international competitiveness and being the hub of the South Pacific in terms of trade and investments.
“The Trade Policy Framework is expected to be the guiding document for achieving sustainable and inclusive growth, by enhancing the competiveness and production capacity of Fijian-made goods and services” added the Permanent Secretary.
“To obtain the desired out of the Trade Policy Framework, constructive input, feedback is required from all the players, especially the private sector. I encourage all key agencies and private sector representatives to attend the workshop and take advantage of the opportunity to discuss the revised draft Framework and provide inputs to a document that will pave the way forward for Fiji’s trade and economic development”, said Mr. Ali.