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Consider Fijian Products, Bainimarama Urges Japan

Consider Fijian Products, Bainimarama Urges Japan
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama (front row, second from left), with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and other leaders from the Pacific region in Iwaki City, Japan, at the PALM8 meeting. Photo: DEPTFO News
May 20
11:06 2018

Abe pledges direct engagement with Japan’s Pacific counterparts.

Prime Minister Voreqe Baini­marama has urged Japan to seriously consider giving products from Fiji and the region preferential access to the Japanese market.

Mr Bainimarama said expanding the Generalised Scheme of Prefer­ences to include more goods made sense, especially with the introduc­tion of direct Fiji Airways flights to Narita International Airport, starting on July 3. He was speaking at the closed door summit of the 8th Pacific Islands Leaders Meet­ing (PALM 8) in Iwaki City, Japan, yesterday.

“The centre of the global economy is moving steadily to the Asia-Pa­cific region, which provides some challenges and opportunities,” Mr Bainimarama said.

“This dynamic shift has been ac­companied by some tensions over territory, maritime limits, trade and the environment, but it has also brought about prosperity and stability and there is no doubt that the Asia-Pacific region has more influence and impact in the world than ever before.”

Prior to the meeting, Japan an­nounced the formation of the Ja­pan-Pacific Islands Countries Local Government Network.

In a PALM8 statement following the talks, the nation’s Prime Min­ister, Shinzo Abe, pledged to have Japan’s local government engage directly with their Pacific counter­parts.

Mr Bainimarama acknowledged the pledge, saying it was a pragmat­ic and workable initiative that will facilitate and strengthen trade and economic linkages between Japan and the Pacific.

Mr Bainimarama gave much of the credit for Fiji’s economic growth to investments made in mi­cro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).

He also welcomed new entrants, French Polynesia and New Caledo­nia, joining his Japanese counter­part in hailing their arrival to the PALM circle.

“If we are to be united and strong as Pacific people, we must be whole,” he said.

“But most of all, I want to express the appreciation that all Pacific is­land leaders have for what PALM8 represents. It is an unmistakable statement of Japan’s strong lead­ership, abiding commitment and steadfast partnership in the Pacific region.”

Mr Bainimarma also expressed support for Japan’s Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy.

The strategy works on three main principles – promoting the rule of law and freedom of navigation, and the pursuit of economic prosper­ity through increased connectivity and a commitment to peace and sta­bility.

Mr Bainimarama ended his ad­dress by reminding the leaders from 17 other countries present of the ongoing battle against climate change.

He said: “The greatest common interest we have today—among ourselves and with the rest of the global community—is to reduce the impact of climate change as much as is humanly possible.

“We will need to adapt, to be sure, and to build greater resilience and that will take all of the resources and ingenuity and pure sweat that we small-island states can muster – and no small amount of interna­tional assistance.

“But we cannot let our practical need to adapt to the certainty of a warmer planet obscure the existen­tial threat that faces us. Adaptation is simply not enough and there are limits to what we can adapt to. We must raise and intensify our ambi­tion to reduce the rate and extent to which this planet is warming.”

Edited by Naisa Koroi

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