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‘Push hard to enjoy trade’

04 September 2014

The region has been urged to push hard to engage and enjoy the benefits of trade through PACER Plus (Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations)if this deal comes into effect.

The encouragement was made last week by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) resident representative for pacific island countries Yongzheng Yang at the end of a three days media training organised by the fund for regional business/economic reporters.

He said in the region trade is very important to allow pacific island countries to enjoy economic growth.

“The region cannot go without trade and its important for regional countries to continue participate in trading activities.”

With PACER Plus being the largest trading deal which is currently being negotiated, Mr Yang said its important for regional countries to discuss and enjoy the benefits of the deal.

“It is my advice to push hard and be part of the PACER Plus agreement while ensuring your countries do benefit if that deal comes into effect,” he said.

Its understood the PACER Plus negotiations offer an opportunity to help Pacific Islands Forum countries benefit from enhanced regional trade and economic integration. It was first signed atNauru on 18 August 2001 and entered into force on 3 October 2002. It is a framework agreement that sets an outline for the future development of trade and economic relations across the Forum region as a whole.

Participants in the PACER Plus negotiations are:

  • Australia
  • Cook Islands
  • Federated States of Micronesia
  • Kiribati
  • Nauru
  • New Zealand
  • Niue
  • Palau
  • Papua New Guinea
  • Republic of Marshall Islands
  • Samoa
  • Solomon Islands
  • Tonga
  • Tuvalu
  • Vanuatu

According to the Australian government foreign affairs website Australia's approach to the PACER Plus negotiations is different to that taken in traditional free trade agreement negotiations. Australia's primary objective is to promote the economic development of Forum Island Countries through greater regional trade and economic integration.

Australia is conscious of the negotiating capacity constraints faced by Forum Island Countries and has committed to providing Forum Island Countries with appropriate capacity building and support.

Australia, for instance, has already provided substantial funds for Forum Island Countries to commission independent research on PACER Plus and for training of Forum Island Country trade officials to strengthen their capacity in respect of the PACER Plus negotiations.

Australia has provided funding for officials from Forum Island Countries to attend PACER Plus meetings and is also helping to fund the Office of the Chief Trade Adviser which provides independent support and advice to Forum Island Countries on PACER Plus matters.

By Moffat Mamu

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