THE Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations with Australia and New Zealand (PACER Plus) will address healthy food import issues to ensure that Pacific Islands do not become a dumping ground for sub-standard food or goods from developed countries.
This was revealed by the chief adviser for Pacific Island Countries (PICs) at the Office of the Chief Trade Advisor (OCTA), Edwin Kessie at the conclusion of a two-day workshop in Nadi yesterday.
Mr Kessie said while PACER Plus was a proposed regional agreement, principles about quality imports into the Pacific would be derived from World Trade Organisation rules and regulations.
"Under WTO rules, there's nothing that says countries are allowed to be dumped with sub-standard goods," he said.
"The WTO allows members to take measures for public health and safety.
"If indeed, sub-standard or poor quality goods are being exported to Fiji and they are found to be dangerous, Fiji would have the right under WTO laws to prohibit these goods."
Mr Kessie said any increase in trade as a result of PACER Plus did not necessarily mean that the health and safety of Pacific islanders should be compromised.
He said by actively participating in PACER Plus, PICs would develop the necessary skills required to compete economically on a global level.
"PACER Plus is a regional agreement and WTO is more the global agreement but they can complement each other.
"If PICs get used to PACER Plus, it will help them participate more effectively at the world trade level," Mr Kessie said.