THE Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations or PACER Plus offers a huge opportunity for all Pacific countries as well as Australia and New Zealand, according to New Zealand’s new Trade Minister Todd McClay.
On his first official visit to Fiji as Trade Minister this week, Mr McClay stressed his commitment to ensuring that Fiji and New Zealand strengthened their trade ties. Speaking on PACER Plus, the minister said he was committed to delivering high quality free trade.
“Negotiations are very important but the moment an agreement is reached, citizens of both Fiji and New Zealand can trade more together,” said Mr McClay.
“I’m very keen to find a way to make those business links more obvious.”
Mr McClay said he had dealt with Fiji a lot in the past and looked forward to growing the relationship further.
“I was a Pacific Islands ambassador in Brussels who sat in the ACP and negotiated with colleagues from Fiji and other countries, with and against the EU on the economic partnership agreement so I’ve actually spent a lot of time sitting on the same side of the table as Fiji.
“It’s flipped a little bit as I’m on the other side of the table, but I’m a very big friend of Fiji and the New Zealand Government sees the relationship with Fiji growing and strengthening.
“We’re very keen to look for ways that we can engage and build upon that relationship in as far as trade is concerned to find ways to reach an agreement on PACER Plus this year.”
Mr McClay met his Fijian counterpart last week where he reaffirmed his commitment towards building better ties with Fiji.
By Roland Koroi