| || || Chand, Moureen Ronika|
| || || The impact of regional trade agreements on the business community in Fiji |
Author:Chand, Moureen Ronika
Institution: University of the South Pacific.
Subject: Trade blocs -- Fiji, Business enterprises -- Fiji, Fiji -- Foreign economic relations
Call No.: pac HF 1418 .7 .C532 2014
Copyright:10-20% of this thesis may be copied without the authors written permission
Abstract: The recent proliferation of Regional Trade Agreements (RTAs) has attracted much research interest from various stakeholders including the policy makers, academics and the business community. Continuous efforts are being made by countries across the globe to expand and strengthen trade relations with partner countries as such trade liberalization polices are implemented with the adoption of RTAs. With Regionalism in fashion and becoming an inherent, recurring and irreversible feature for the world trade system, a careful analysis on costs and benefits of RTAs need to be carried out to determine its contributions to the development of the economy. Although much research has been carried out to examine RTAs and its impact on industries and the economies of PICs, little has been done to provide micro firm level information and views on RTAs that PICs are signatory to. This study is an attempt to provide this information. The thesis explores the various implications that RTAs have had on the business community in Fiji, with a special focus on exporters in the country. It synthesises the empirical literature on this topic, scrutinizes the issues related to trade, examines the awareness and utilization of RTAs, presents the impediments to RTA use, access the institutional support and highlights the general business view on RTAs in the Pacific. This study encompasses the use of both qualitative and quantitative data. Descriptive statistics has been used to analyse and present the background information on the respondents while establishing the relationship between variables has been quantitative. Structured questionnaires were the key survey instrument for this study and these were distributed to 100 exporters across Fiji. Interviews were also conducted on a smaller scale to further strengthen the findings of this research. The findings of the research highlights that the business community in Fiji is generally supportive of the initiatives taken by the Government to promote RTAs, however, very few see the relevance of these RTAs on their businesses. v Due to the lack of awareness and knowledge on existing RTAs and on the availability of support services, the utilization of RTAs by exporters in Fiji is minimal and despite the existence of RTAs for a number of years now, exporters continue to face barriers related to trade. This has been attributed to the lack of commitment on the part of partner market Governments to fully in force free trade in the region. This study also highlights that though users of RTAs have experienced positive implications on their businesses, the margin of contribution has again been minimal. With the many shortcomings of the existing RTAs in the Pacific, the full benefits of trade liberalization through RTAs are yet to be realized by exporters in Fiji. However, the recent initiatives by the Government and the other stakeholders along with policy changes and implementation, the effectiveness of RTAs can be further enhanced. The findings of the study will assist in policy formulation at various levels in terms of providing exporters with the necessary support as well as ensuring the effectiveness of RTAs in Fiji.