THE Ministry of Industry and Trade will revive the national trade facilitation committee to address issues and impediments faced by border and trade facilitation agencies.
Speaking at the Custom Brokers and Forwarders Council of Fiji's annual general meeting on Saturday, Ministry of Industry and Trade permanent secretary Shaheen Ali said government was aware of the challenges related to infrastructure and the lack of productivity and capacity at seaports and wharves.
He said they understood there were issues that not only posed a challenge to them, but presented itself as a challenge at national level.
"We understand that more hours spent clearing goods means more cost is incurred by our exporters and stakeholders. We recognise that layers of fees and charges can also pose a serious impediment to trade," Mr Ali said.
He said the importance of the forum was to discuss some of those issues.
"From the government's perspective, we are committed to addressing these challenges by focusing on enhancing or improving our trade-related infrastructure and streamlining our processes.
"The newly formed Fiji Roads Authority (FRA) is already looking into our roads, bridges and ports that have been largely neglected over the years," he said.
Mr Ali said the ministry was assisting FRA in identifying aid-for-trade resources that were available from donor countries to complement the significant assistance that has already been committed by the Prime Minister's 2013 Budget.
"To tackle these problems holistically, we also need partnership co-operation from the council and the private sector."
Apart from trade facilitation issues, Mr Ali said the council needed to assist the ministry in taking advantage of the trade agreements Fiji was a party to and the agreements that were under negotiation.
"You can also advise and contribute towards making these trade arrangements work for us and for the benefit our exporters," he said.
CBFCF secretary Ronald Dass said they were the eyes and ears of the ministry and the government.
"We are telling them that if you work through us, we can tell you where things are wrong," Mr Dass said.
He said they knew what was happening in the background and they had first-hand information.
He said they could advise government on issues that would arise if they implemented laws for export and import.