EU increases funding for Pacific export project
The European Union has increased funding for a project aimed at helping Pacific businesses boost their exports
The European Union is increasing funding for its Increasing Agricultural Commodity Trade Project, or IACT, in the hope of boosting exports from the Pacific region.
The project, implemented by the Secretariat for the Pacific Community, is hoping to identify another 10-to-12 enterprises and work with them to increase the international presence of their products.
The IACT team leader, Samu Turagacati, told Jamie Tahana the region needs a hand to take advantage of its export potential.
SAMU TURAGACATI: There's a lot of opportunities for trade in the region, for our products to reach markets overseas. There was a project before this IACT, it was called FACT, which was also a European Union-funded project. In fact, it's facilitating agricultural commodity trade. And after the review they found it successful, so they facilitated it and this new project s increasing on the commodity trade. And trade, in this respect, we're only talking about exports of commodities within the agriculture, forestry, fisheries and livestock sector.
JAMIE TAHANA: And how much is this extra investment worth?
ST: We were given about 9 million euros and that will be spread across the 15 PACT countries, including Timor-Leste, for a period of four years.
JT: What kind of businesses are you hoping to identify for these extra 12 enterprises?
ST: These enterprises should come from the agriculture sector - forestry, as well as livestock and aquaculture and marine culture. So they are products that we can export overseas, not only to the international market, but also in the region we can carry out some trade within the region under those sectors that i've already mentioned.
JT: You mentioned a lot of potential. What kind of potential is there in the region?
ST: Well, like in Fiji, there are companies or enterprises here, exporting to New Zealand and Australia and some to the US and the European Union. And, like in Tonga, in Samoa we have one or two companies that we're assisting at the moment that are already having their presence in the overseas market. So we'd like to get in more enterprises to come through the same way through the assistance of the new fund.
JT: What will these EU funds do? What is it going towards in these businesses?
ST: Funding is going towards products and processing, domestic building, procurement of machinery and other supplies. It also goes to trade meetings and international trade shows. We have sent some enterprises in Melbourne, to London and Sydney to attend and showcase their products, and some local ones. And they're proving to be very successful.
JT: How do you choose these businesses who receive this funding?
ST: We have guidelines and selection criteria that they have to adhere to and they come back to us with that, together with a business plan and also their financial statements. So enterprises should be registered. And those enterprises that we ae working on, those that are already exporting, we'd like to maintain their presence in their current market and maket them strong. And the second category are those that are export-ready - some of them may be having some market access issues or would like us to assist them on that. And the third category are emerging enterprises that have a very clear supply-chain vision that they will be exporting in the future.
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