MIT calls for Pacific/Pasifika brand

Trade Ministry Permanent Secretary Shaheen Ali highlighted positive impacts of the Fijian Made brand as he called on organisers and participants of the 2014 Pacific Trade Show to lean towards a similar concept to promote Pacific products.

"I request the organisers and participants to strive to establish a “Pacific” brand or a “Pasifika” brand, which promotes a unique identity of Pacific products," he said. He said Pacific branding as with Fijian-Made, buying Pacific-Made will mean many advantages for the region, including, job creation and sustainable growth of the Pacific economies from within. Pacific branding he says means additional exposure and recognition for regional traders and products to secure markets.

"It is also incumbent on us, as local businesses, to promote the region’s image by ensuring that we maintain high standards, high quality and consistency of supply," Ali said.

Pacific branding he further says will also enhance efforts to boost intra-regional trade which would in turn enhance the region's competitiveness in international trade.

Ali said although trade within the region has increased from negligible levels in the year 2000 to almost 10per cent of total trade in 2012, trade within the region is still very low for reasons which included that the Pacific comprises some of the world's smallest markets and the unique challenges it faces in trade on a global scale. "Intra-regional trade, amongst our island countries, should be seen as a stepping stone and building block to trading with international partners," he said.

"We have to make it our business to create growth through exports and trade – starting with trade amongst ourselves. “At the same time, if we are able to come together to develop a “common market”, with harmonized customs rules, mutual agreements on biosecurity requirements and facilitation of trade in general, we will become a very attractive market (of 9 million consumers) for our trading partners.

"Therefore, there is a need for Pacific businesses and traders to come under one roof to create business linkages and synergies between importers and exporters, in order to facilitate and grow trade and business in the region." Hence he hailed as timely the 2014 Pasifika Trade Show which he says aligns well with efforts to boost regional trade.

Ali also acknowledged Fiji's Industry and Trade Minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum efforts whose vision and reforms has promoted consistent, stable and business-friendly policies, "leading to investor confidence, consumer confidence and more importantly economic growth."

"The national branding campaign - “Fijian Made – Buy Fijian” campaign - is one his many achievements as the Minister for Industry and Trade.

Minister Sayed-Khaiyum has been an advocate for regionalism and regional integration." The 2014 Pasifika Trade show starts today featuring 91 exhibitors from 14 Pacific Island countries as well as facilitators and development partners. The show ends Friday evening.