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Quarantine Should Not Be Used As A Means To Limit Trade: A-G

Quarantine should not be used as a means to limit trade, Acting Prime Minister, Attorney-General and Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed- Khaiyum said yesterday. Speaking at the opening of the
14 Feb 2020 17:05
Quarantine Should Not Be Used As A Means To Limit Trade: A-G
Acting Prime Minister, Attorney-General and Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum speaking during the opening the Trade Ministers Meeting 2020 held in Suva, on February 13, 2020. Photo: DEPTFO News

Quarantine should not be used as a means to limit trade, Acting Prime Minister, Attorney-General and Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed- Khaiyum said yesterday.

Speaking at the opening of the Pacific Islands Forum Trade ministers meeting in Suva, Mr Sayed- Khaiyum raised issues which he asked the ministers to take into consideration.

He said the economic power base was shifting significantly where Chinese would, by 2039, be bigger by 10 per cent than America.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum asked ministers to gauge the region’s position in relation to emerging economies including Indonesia.

“We’re finding out now that investors who put up big warehouses are going to Vietnam to source steel structures.

“How are we operating with each other in respect of interisland shipping, in terms of airline connectivity, to make ourselves more attractive and ensure we are able to mitigate some of those risks?”

Creation of niche markets

The Pacific has the ability to create niche markets, Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said.

“Fiji had 22,000 workers in the garment industry when we had duty free access into the American market to export our garments.

“When that was stopped, the numbers dropped all the way to 2000 workers,” Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said.

The modus operando in the garment industry has since changed to meet the high end market at lower volume of production, he said.

He said inward-looking trends, where sovereign rights were exerted over international norms and laws, which were disruptive.

Rules of engagement

Rules of engagement were now free for all, he said.

“There were those who wished to adhere to the established norms and there are those who don’t want to, asserting that sovereign rights supersedes international norms,” he said.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum urged ministers to understand realities which included:

  • labour mobility,
  • the increasing intensity and fre -quency of climatic events,
  • along with transnational issues concerning inbound drug cartels which used the Pacific as the conduit point.

Potential sectors

He said there was potential in certain sectors of Fijian economy, where 15 years ago no one envisaged countries in the Pacific would have such economic growth.

In the midst of talks about labour mobility, Fiji was bringing in labourers from Bangladesh, Philippines and Indonesia, he pointed out.

Forum Secretariat secretary general Dame Meg Taylor said when Forum ministers met in 2016, they called for a meeting of Forum trade ministers to consider and discuss a range of sustainable challenges faced by the Pacific.

She said the meeting yesterday came about as a result of recognition by Forum leaders for:

  • the formulation of coherent economic development strategies and policies that were inclusive,
  • promoted regional economic integration,
  • strengthened connectivity,
  • led to export-led growth, and,
  • increased investment in priority areas in decent work,

She said the region must remain united to work together to:

  • address issues such as climate change,
  • challenge protectivism at multi lateral level, and,
  • work against outside forces that sought to undermine and divide the region.

Feedback: maraia.vula@fijisun.com.fj

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