Delivered by the Deputy Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum, Esala Nayasi
at the Forum Trade Officials Meeting
4 October 2023, Suva, Fiji.
Yadra vinaka and welcome to this 2023 Forum Trade Officials Meeting.
I recognise that we have a very full agenda before us, and I will keep my remarks very brief.
If there is anything that I would really like to emphasise for Members consideration throughout your discussions today, it is this: as a region, we need to work towards stronger coordination, strengthened coherence, minimal duplication of efforts and effectively capitalise on opportunities for economies of scale, where possible.
We operate in a global strategic environment that is grappling with multiple challenges and shocks, while also recovering from a global pandemic.
Resources are limited. Capacities are stretched. But opportunities continue to emerge, particularly for us in the Pacific region.
The real immediate challenge for us is how we can turn this increasing geostrategic interest in our region into sustainable economic opportunities for our people and our economies.
In an increasingly interconnected world – our unilateral success as individual nations is no longer a given. We must build on each other’s strengths to create trade and economic opportunities and open markets – yet to be explored.
It is also worth flagging that the meetings this week come at an important juncture in this region’s history, as we prepare to initiate the Review of the Regional Architecture and finalise the 2050 Strategy Implementation Plan.
The questions we need to asking ourselves are: How can we use existing mechanisms and structures to strengthen intra-regional and inter-regional trading relations? Who are the regional actors on trade assistance in the Pacific and how can we ensure the effective use of resources and minimise duplication?
In terms of market access, is there a role that our Trade and Invest Offices can play in stepping up our engagement and advocacy on collective trade and economic matters with their respective Host Governments? How can we strengthen our footprint in existing and emerging markets.
Excellencies and Senior Officials,
I hope that these reflections will prompt your further consideration and discussion for the remainder of the week as we work to continually invest in our ability to engage, trade and develop, both amongst ourselves and with our partners.
For us as your Secretariat, we have heard our members in our different interactions – we need to rationalize and prioritise our efforts noting the resource constraints we face, demand for timely delivery of our support services and the urgent needs of members.
We are appreciative of the opportunity to meet today and we are thankful for the commitment shown by all our members to be here this week and we look forward to hearing your views in your deliberations.
With those few words, I wish us all well for the discussions today and for the rest of the week.