Fiji will be withdrawing from the Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations or PACER Plus talks.
PACER Plus is an umbrella agreement between members of the Pacific Islands Forum, including Australia and New Zealand, which provides a framework for the future development of trade cooperation.
According to FBC news, Fiji trade minister, Faiyaz Koya, officially announced the country’s withdrawal in Nadi this morning.
Mr Koya says Fiji’s decision is based on a lack of flexibility from Australia and New Zealand on key concerns.
He added that the country’s concerns were not fully addressed at last month’s special trade minister’s summit on Pacer Plus in New Zealand.
These concerns include the fact that the agreement, in its present form, did not provide for three commitments: Long term improved market access; preserving policy space and binding commitments on labor mobility and development cooperation.
Fiji’s announcement is another blow to the trade deal, which has already been abandoned by Papua New Guinea.
Early last month, Minister for Trade, Commerce & Industry, Richard Maru, bluntly told a visiting Australian Trade Delegation that PNG will not partake in trade that will not directly benefit the country.
Prime Minister, Peter O’Neill, echoed the government’s stance during his speech this morning at the Pacific Island’s Forum.