Press Release - 25th June 2010 - Smart business management and decision-making by the private sector, and regional cooperative actions are some of the ways that could assist the private sector in the Pacific region exploit the global economic recovery opportunities.

Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat Tuiloma Neroni Slade made the comments when he opened the Pacific Islands Private Sector Organisation (PIPSO) Regional Workshop in Nadi, Fiji on 23rd June.

The three-day workshop with the theme "Strengthening Pacific Islands Private Sector to meet Global Recovery Opportunities" is organized through the assistance of the European Union under the Pacific Regional Economic Integration Programme (PACREIP).

In his opening address, Mr Slade said there are a number of ways that the region can support its private sector to exploit global opportunities.

"Firstly, smart business management and decision-making by the private sector itself would be essential. Secondly, given the influence of Governments on private sector performance, most of the actions that are needed to be implemented would have to be led or facilitated by Governments. Thirdly, regional cooperative actions aiming to aggregate or develop markets for export and business opportunities, and to address issues of scale due to smallness and isolation, would be essential, indeed, are inevitable. "

Mr Slade also highlighted the high cost of doing business in the region.

"This is an area that needs our collective effort. I would note that our Governments are working with development partners to address this concern. Some countries are already achieving good results. However, much more needs to be done to ensure the cost of doing business in the Pacific are substantially reduced in order to grow the private sector."

Secretary General Slade also spoke of involving the private sector either through PIPSO or some other mechanism in consultations on initiatives for regional cooperation.

"Important regional trade developments are happening now in the region with potential to improve market access for exports. The PACER-Plus discussions, PICTA trade in services and the negotiations of Economic Partnership Agreements are examples which require meaningful consultations with the private sector to ensure the needs of the private sector are sufficiently addressed. Under the Cairns Compact on Strengthening Development Coordination in the Pacific mandated by Forum Leaders last year, there is an expressed interest by Forum Leaders to consult and dialogue with the private sector, and a process is currently being considered to facilitate this."

Mr Slade commended the work of PIPSO since it was established in 2005 and reaffirmed the support of the Forum Secretariat to ensure that its operations continue and grow.

He called on support from the governments, national private sector organizations and development partners for the work of PIPSO.