GOVERNMENTS should include the private sector when negotiating trade agreements, says Pacific Islands Forum chief trade adviser Doctor Edwini Kessie.
Speaking at a workshop at the Trade Pasifika 2012 in Denarau yesterday, Dr Kessie said a trade agreement negotiated without the involvement of the private sector was not worth the paper it was written on.
Dr Kessie, who has worked for the World Trade Organisation, started in his new role three weeks ago.
He promised that the Office of the Chief Trade Adviser (OCTA) would be involving the private sector.
Dr Kessie was a panellist in the workshop, which discussed trade agreements.
He said previous experiences, such as in the US, government delegations for trade negotiations always included members of the private sector.
"There is a need to replicate this in the Pacific," Dr Kessie said.
He added that there would now be regular meetings on PACER Plus negotiations.
Meanwhile, participant Jason Chandra of FMF Foods Limited raised his concerns on the influx and "dumping" of cheap, low quality goods in the market.
Mr Chandra asked MSG representative Mere Falemaka whether the MSG countries could consider these issues.
Ms Falemaka agreed there was an influx of cheap Asian goods but said Fiji was addressing the issue well.
She said other countries could perhaps follow Fiji in terms of the legal requirements on labelling and packaging of goods.