25 Apr 2017

Fiji govt says it was excluded from PACER Plus

7:40 am on 25 April 2017

Fiji's Trade Minister Faiyaz Koya says the country didn't pull out of the PACER Plus trade negotiations, it was excluded.

The Fiji Sun reports Mr Koya expressed shock after finding out Australian Trade Minister Steven Ciobo said Fiji and Papua New Guinea elected not to sign up to the Pacific trade agreement.

Mr Koya said Fiji had written to the PACER Plus team to inform them they would not be at the negotiation meeting which was held last week in Brisbane.

The Minister said they had asked for the meeting to be deferred but received no response.

Fiji's Trade Minister Faiyaz Koya talks to business people in Pacific Harbour

Faiyaz Koya says Fiji still wanted to be a part of the PACER Plus discussions Photo: RNZ / Alex Perrottet

He said Fiji did not opt out of the agreement, they were excluded, after informing organisers that they were unable to attend the meeting due to commitments at home.

The minister acknowledged there was a change of stance from Australia and New Zealand during negotiations that required thorough discussions and he believed Fiji was in the midst of doing that.

He also questioned how the negotiations could conclude without Fiji's participation.

A formal signing of the agreement between 14 nations is scheduled to take place in Tonga in June.

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