Opening Remarks by the Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum, Dame Meg Taylor,DBE
Forum Trade Ministers Meeting
13 February 2020
His Excellency, Lionel Aingimea, President of the Republic of Nauru
The Honourable Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum, Acting Prime Minister, Attorney-General, and Minister for Economy, Civil Aviation, Public Enterprises, Civil Service and Communications, of the Government of Fiji
Representatives of CROP Agencies
Ladies and Gentlemen
Ni bula Vinaka!
It has indeed been a hectic programme of meetings over the past two-days but I am very pleased to be able to welcome you all to this Forum Trade Ministers Meeting.
At the outset, may I acknowledge and commend the Government and people of Fiji for the wonderful hosting hospitalities and in particular, for being able to facilitate this meeting at this venue at the eleventh house – vinaka vakalevu. I also welcome and acknowledge the presence of the Acting Prime Minister of Fiji, the Honourable Aiyaz – Sayed Khaiyum for joining us this morning to officiate at this opening segment.
Honourable Ministers, when the Forum Leaders met in 2019, they called for a meeting of Forum Trade Ministers to consider and discuss a range of sustainable development challenges faced by the Pacific region. Forum Leaders recognised the need for the formulation of coherent economic and development regional strategies and policies that are inclusive, promotes regional economic integration, strengthen connectivity and leads to export-led growth, increased investment in priority areas and decent work opportunities in the region
Indeed, our Leaders have made it clear that our region must remain united so that we can work together to address the threat from climate change, challenge protectionism at multilateral level, work against hegemony and remain steadfast against geopolitical competition and outside forces that seek to undermine regionalism and divide us.
Honourable Ministers, the 2050 Blue Pacific Strategy that Leaders have called for in 2019, is intended to stimulate and strengthen collective action now by harnessing the capacity of our regional institutions, systems and partnerships to effectively tackle the socio-economic, development challenges facing our Pacific region. The theme chosen by Fiji – Pacific Trading Nations: From Surviving to Thriving indeed speaks to a strengthening effort by Pacific economies to determine and drive its development aspirations.
The meeting today provides a valuable platform and opportunity to have a frank discussions on pertinent issues on regional and national trade and I look forward to the deliberations at this meeting.
I wish you well.