SUNBIZ

Government To Commit To Trade Agreement

The Fijian Government has emphasised it will be making a legally-binding commitment to implement the Trade Facilitation Agreement agreed in Bali in 2013. The agreement contains provisions for expediting the
20 May 2015 10:28
Government To Commit To Trade Agreement
Permanent Secretary for Industry, Trade and Tourism Shaheen Ali (front, middle) during the World Trade Organisation Trade Facilitation workshop in Nadi yesterday. Photo: SALOTE QALUBAU

The Fijian Government has emphasised it will be making a legally-binding commitment to implement the Trade Facilitation Agreement agreed in Bali in 2013.

The agreement contains provisions for expediting the movement, release and clearance of goods, including goods in transit.

It aims to reduce red-tape and streamline customs and border processes with reforms and technology upgrade.

Permanent Secretary for Industry, Trade and Tourism, Shaheen Ali, gave Government’s commitment yesterday at Tanoa International Hotel in Nadi.

This was during the World Trade Organisation Trade Facilitation Agreement National Needs and Priorities Assessment Workshop.

Mr Ali said the implementation of the agreement will improve efficiency of the Fijian border agencies and increase gains from trade.

“If we make a commitment that is not implemented, we could potentially attract legal challenge by our trading partners (if they feel that they have been affected by our inaction),” he said.

“Therefore, commitments we make in trade facilitation, needs to be cognisant of our implementation capacity – as with most cases, it is better to under commit and over deliver.”

Mr Ali highlighted that experts estimate if the customs measures of the agreement are properly implemented, it could create US$1 trillion worth of global economic activity.

“Further to this, it could add 21 million new jobs and lower the cost of doing international trade by 10 to 15 per cent,” he said.

But, he said this can only be possible if we have the resources, both financial and technical, to put place in the right infrastructure, processes and procedures.

The developed members of the WTO have given a commitment to assist the developing and least developed countries, where financial and technical resources are required.

The workshop

Mr Ali said the workshop was critical in determining Fiji’s current level of compliance in terms of measures contained in the agreement.

He said it was also important to identify and determine Fiji’s capacity and needs in order to implement any measures within the Agreement, which are not in place.

The workshop brought together Fijian officials from all the relevant and vital Ministries and Government entities, as well as the private sector, to carry out the national self-assessment.

Feedback:  saloteq@fijisun.com.fj

 




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