Adequate policy support is a prerequisite for a sector to grow. Equally important are the mechanisms in the market system which ensure that the relevant voices are being heard. To that end, Fiji’s sub-sectors that are focused on export processing could do well if voices within the industry are first listened to and then channeled to the appropriate public bodies, to ensure the proper policy support needed to address regulatory barriers is secured.
To do this MDF partnered with the Fiji Exports Council (FEC). The primary aim of the intervention is to strengthen FEC’s ability to lobby effectively with the Government of Fiji to bring about lasting changes around export policy and rules, with a particular focus on review of the duty suspension scheme. Secondly the intervention aims to strengthen FEC’s institutional capacity to administer the new scheme so that effective and efficient services are provided to Fiji exporters. The MDF and FEC partnership engaged a trade policy expert who worked with FEC to review the Duty Suspension Scheme (DSS) and related Inward Processing Relief schemes to recommend best practice policies to create an impetus for exporters to realise export opportunities. The review was done through consultations with relevant private and public sector stakeholders. FEC presented the position to the government through the Fiji Revenue and Customs Authority and subsequently through the Ministry of Finance. It is now under review..
As a Business Membership Organisation (BMO) represented by leading private sector bodies, FEC is ideally placed to bring about necessary policy and regulatory changes to help expand Fiji’s export base. Once the policy changes are made, export volumes are expected to increase; new exporters will join the DSS, and benefit from this will eventually translate into business expansion, better margins and employment creation for men and women in the various sectors in Fiji.