Forum Trade Ministers focus on key regional trade initiatives



“Supporting Private Sector for Increased Trade, Investment and Development” was the focus for Forum Trade Ministers who met in the Cook Islands today underpinning the Leaders’ commitment to enhance Pacific regionalism by creating an environment that is conducive for trade, economic growth and development.

In opening the meeting, the Chair, the Hon. Henry Puna, Prime Minister of the Cook Islands acknowledged the support provided by Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat and the Office of the Chief Trade Advisor (OCTA) to Forum Island Countries on trade policy issues and encouraged Trade Ministers to ensure that their decisions reflect the emerging needs of the member countries.

The linkages to climate change adaptation and sustainable development were emphasised by the Trade Ministers in their discussions, particularly with regard to increasing the economic benefits in the fisheries sector. Information and Communications Technology (ICT) solutions to support trade and investment growth in the region, particularly for Micro- Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) sector was also highlighted.

Trade Ministers agreed to mainstream implementation of national trade and investment policy frameworks through National Sustainable Development Strategies. Ministers recognised the value of consultations at national and regional levels in the implementation of trade and investment agreements and policies.

Trade Ministers instructed trade negotiators to redouble their efforts and conclude a high quality PACER Plus agreement, and intensify consultations with civil society and the private sector to enhance the participation of Forum Island Countries (FICs) in international trade.

Ministers welcomed Australia’s announcement of increasing its contribution of an additional AUD1 million per annum to the Pacific Islands Trade and Invest (PT&I) Sydney Office, and an annual contribution of AUD500,000 to the Forum Secretariat to strengthen and position the PT&I network to continue to assist the FICs increase exports and attract investments.

Forum Trade Ministers will meet with the Forum Economic Ministers and regional Private Sector representatives on 30 October 2015 to discuss ways to supporting the development of private sector in the FICs.

Useful Links:

2015 Forum Trade Ministers Meeting - Outcomes Document

The Hiri Declaration: ‘Strengthening Connections to Enhance Pacific Regionalism’ endorsed by Pacific Leaders in Port Moresby in September, 2015.


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