Fiji Sun | 12 February 2021
Fiji and the United States of America meet under the Trade And Investment Framework Agreement for the first time
by Ministry of commerce, trade, tourism and transport
The inaugural Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) meeting between the United States of America (USA) and Fiji was held today virtually.
The Meeting was co-chaired by Fiji’s Permanent Secretary for Commerce, Trade, Tourism and Transport, Shaheen Ali, and the Assistant United States Trade Representative (USTR) for Southeast Asia and the Pacific, Karl Ehlers.
What Is TIFA Bilateral Agreement?
The TIFA is a bilateral agreement between the USA and Fiji, which establishes a mechanism through which the two countries can discuss trade and economic related issues.
The TIFA is a framework, which provides Fiji an opportunity to have one-on-one dialogue with the USTR and relevant agencies.
In his opening remarks, Mr Ali acknowledged the successful signing of the USA-Fiji TIFA in October last year, is a testament to strengthening relations between the USA and Fiji.
Permanent Secretary Ali stated: “This was a milestone achievement towards recognising the potential of our many years of partnership.”
“And I am sure, it will remain a testimony to furthering our relations in years to come, if we keep momentum.”
It was highlighted by Mr Ali that in response to the rippling effects of the dual challenges of Climate Change and the global pandemic, the Fijian Government has rolled out comprehensive policy initiatives to deal with the crisis and support recovery efforts.
Return To normalcy
He also noted that any return to normalcy will require in part, resumption of international travel and tourism, which is only possible through timely securing, distribution and administering of vaccines.
The Meeting discussed a range of matters in relation to the renewal of the USA’s Generalised System of Tariff Preference (GSP) scheme, progressing market access of agricultural products, co-operation in the area of intellectual property and labour rights, investments opportunities, progressing business related reforms and environment programmes, to name a few.
Mr Ali concluded by stating that the TIFA provides a platform for USA and Fiji to discuss such issues to strengthen economic relations and strategic co-operation, fuel economic recovery, and enable a more sustainable and inclusive growth.
He thanked the USA Government for its commitments to combat climate change and rejoining the Paris Agreement.
“We need such partnerships, more than ever, to help us change the course, build resilience, avert climate catastrophe, and set an equitable and sustainable future that we all deserve”, said Permanent Secretary Ali.
Permanent Secretary for Agriculture, Ritesh Dass, and Permanent Secretary for Waterways and Environment, Joshua Wycliffe, and senior officials from the Office of the Attorney-General, led discussion on their respective areas of the agenda.
In attendance were also the heads from respective Ministries and Agencies responsible for Trade, Biosecurity, Agriculture, Fisheries, Intellectual Property, Labour and Environment.