Fiji had the honour of chairing the African, Caribbean and the Pacific (ACP) Group Ministerial Meeting on the eve of the 13th World Trade Organisation – WTO Ministerial Conference (MC13) in Abu Dhabi.

The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Trade, Co-operatives, SMEs and Communication, Manoa Kamikamica, as Chair of the meeting, facilitated discussions on the ACP’s interests and priorities concerning key issues at MC13.

The Director-General of the WTO, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, also addressed the meeting, emphasising the significance of MC13.

During the session, the Permanent Secretary for Trade, Co-operatives, SMEs and Communication, Shaheen Ali, stated that achieving a tangible outcome on Fisheries Subsidies remains a main priority for Fiji at this Ministerial Conference.
“The Pacific Region depends on the health of our oceans for sustenance, livelihoods, and economic development. For us, this is not just a national interest but a matter of survival,” Permanent Secretary Ali emphasised.

He further expressed concerns that the current text on overcapacity and overfishing fails to address Fiji’s legitimate concerns fully, hindering efforts to safeguard our oceans and develop our fishing capacity in the future.

“The current text falls short of meeting the minimum mandate set by Sustainable Development Goal 14.6, to which we are all committed. Fiji remains unconvinced that this represents our best effort,” Ali stated.

“Our fisheries resources are at risk of continued exploitation if decisive action is not taken. We need to take strong action to stop this exploitation”, he emphasised.

In addition to fisheries, Ministers also discussed negotiations on agriculture, dispute settlement reform, the e-commerce work programme, development, Trade-Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), and Trade and Environment during the meeting.

Fiji remains committed to advocating for meaningful outcomes that address the pressing concerns of the ACP Group and the wider Pacific region at MC13.

While in Abu Dhabi, Minister for Trade, Manoa Kamikamica, held a bilateral meeting with his UAE counterpart, Dr Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi.

The meeting took place in the margins of the preparations for the 13th Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organisation – WTO (MC13), in Abu Dhabi from 26-29 February 2024.

During the meeting, Kamikamica extended warm congratulations to Dr Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi on his Chairmanship of the MC13 and commended the United Arab Emirates for their leadership in hosting this important global event

The Deputy Prime Minister emphasised the significance of MC13 in addressing pressing global trade challenges and advancing the interests of all WTO members.

Discussions between the two leaders centered on their expectations for the MC13 and the importance of achieving meaningful outcomes that promote inclusive and sustainable development and economic growth. They exchanged views on key agenda items, including fisheries subsidies, agriculture, e-commerce negotiations, reaffirming their commitment to working together to find constructive solutions to these issues.

In addition to trade-related matters, Kamikamica and Dr Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi also exchanged talks on the longstanding relations between Fiji and the United Arab Emirates.

They highlighted the strong bonds of friendship and cooperation that exist between the two countries and expressed their commitment to further strengthening bilateral ties.