DIFFICULTIES in trade with other Pacific Island Countries continue to persist despite the existence of trade agreements to facilitate trade.
These were the sentiments of Trade Ministry permanent secretary Shaheen Ali in his address to investors at an Investment Fiji Export Awareness Seminar.
The seminar titled 'Barriers to trading with South Pacific Island Countries' addressed areas that would enable a business environment to be free of impediments.
"We must note that with the trade agreements in place there are certain barriers and obstacles that still exist," Mr Ali said
"There are significant costs associated in trading with Pacific Island nations."
Mr Ali said these ranged from explicit tariff and non-tariff barriers, inefficient regulation of transportation and communication services to obtrusive regulation of private sector activity.
"In addition, many Pacific economies are small, relatively isolated and geographically fragmented, with their population spread over many islands," he said.
He said it remained difficult to identify any compelling arguments for maintaining barriers to international trade and investment however he did acknowledge there would be certain costs.
"But there will be political costs and some adjustment costs for PICs who proceed to reduce these barriers. So it is pertinent to ask if there are preferred ways of approaching the challenges of eliminating these barriers," he said.