Samoa, Tonga and Tuvalu Sign the MOU to establish Trade and Development Facility

PRESS STATEMENT 40/13

19 July 2013

Samoa, Tonga and Tuvalu signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to establish the Pacific Regional Trade and Development Facility (the Facility) to join Vanuatu and Kiribati who signed the MoU in May and June respectively.

While signing the MoU for the Government of Tonga, Honourable Dr Viliami Uasike Latu, Minister for Commerce Tourism and Labour, highlighted the importance of Aid for Trade for Pacific island economies. “This MoU is expected to assist the Pacific islands in pooling their aid for trade resources and coordinating its utilisation in the implementation of regional aid for trade projects. Tonga supports this initiative and looks forward to the Facility being operationalised,” Hon. Latu said.

“Investing in the development of trade will assist our economies to provide employment and improve the livelihood of our people. The MoU provides the region with a great opportunity for coordinated partnership between all stakeholders in providing Aid for Trade,” the Permanent Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Trade, Tourism, Environment and Labour, for the Government of Tuvalu, Mr Tapugao Falefou said. “Coordinated efforts in trade facilitation, promotion and capacity building activities will enhance and maximise the benefits from the resources available to the Pacific region, and Tuvalu looks forward to benefiting from such arrangements,” Mr Falefou added.

The Deputy Prime Minister of Samoa and Chair of the 2013 Forum Trade Ministers Meeting, the Hon. Fonotoe Nuafesili Pierre Lauofo, thanked the Governments of Tonga and Tuvalu for its commitment to the MoU to establish the Facility.

“The Pacific Regional Trade and Development Facility seeks to provide regional trade-related assistance to the Pacific islands and invites development partners to contribute to the facility,” Hon. Fonotoe Lauofo stated. “I congratulate Tuvalu and Tonga for joining Samoa today in signing the MoU. The Facility is expected to play a vital role in assisting development partners in coordinating their Aid for Trade resources for the Pacific region.” Hon. Fonotoe Lauofo added.

“We look forward to the remaining Pacific ACP States to follow suit in signing the MoU in view of the importance of the Facility in securing Aid for Trade resources.” Hon. Fonotoe Lauofo said. 

The MoU is now open for signature by other Pacific Island Countries, Development Partners, and regional and international organisations that wish to benefit from and support the Facility.

(Ends)

For media enquiries, please contact Ms Ateca Tora, the Forum Secretariat’s Information Management Coordinator on phone: (+679) 331 2600 or email: atecat@forumsec.org.fj

 Background Notes:

The concept of a Trade and Development Facility originated in 2006, in the context of negotiations for an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between Pacific ACP States and the European Union (EU).  Pacific ACP members consider that, if well designed, structured and implemented, a Facility could have a number of advantages as an institutional mechanism to address their Aid-for-Trade (AfT) requirements.  The rationale for the creation of the Facility being to improve the delivery of aid to Pacific island countries in support of the AfT agenda. 

The MOU provides for the establishment of a Council as the Facility’s main policy and decision making organ and sets up the parameters for the eventual establishment, structure and operation of the Facility.

The Facility also ensures Aid for Trade assistance is delivered in a transparent and effective manner. The types of activities and programmes that will be implemented through the Facility will be those that have been identified by Pacific Island Countries as their Aid for Trade priority needs. Regional projects as well as national projects with a regional impact will be considered for funding from the Facility.  

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