Australia Reviewing Fiji Desire To Extend SPARTECA

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Trade agreement eventually to be replaced by PACER Plus

By Vuniwaqa Bola-Bari

SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, Nov. 3, 2014) – Australian Minister for Industries, Ian Macfarlane is currently reviewing the South Pacific Regional Trade and Economic Co-operation Agreement (SPARTECA) deal with Fiji.

Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop said the deal, which injects about $100million into the country annually, was discussed in her meeting with Fiji’s Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama.

SPARTECA is a non-reciprocal trade agreement under which the two developed nations of the South Pacific Forum, Australia and New Zealand offer duty free and unrestricted or concession access for virtually all products originating from the developing island member countries of the forum.

"The PM and I did have a very positive discussion about the SPARTECA. We do recognise the importance to Fiji of this industry and the relevant Minister back in Australia.

"I certainly will put forward PM Bainimarama’s views when I return to Australia and I’m hopeful that we will come to an appropriate arrangement," Bishop said.

She has also welcomed Fiji’s involvement in the PACER plus trade negotiations.

"And overtime we hope that those trade negotiations will lead to PACER plus which will take over from SPARTECA."

[PIR editor’s note: Fijilive reported that ‘Fiji wants to secure an agreement that will take into account the current trade imbalance and will benefit all parties in the PACER Plus negotiations. ... [Bainimarama added that ] the Fijian government now looks forward to continuing the negotiations in a positive spirit to agree to terms that launch the entire region into a new age of prosperity and opportunity.’]

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