The seventh round of Pacific Islands Countries Trade Agreement (PICTA) trade in services negotiations concluded on 10 February 2012 in Nadi, Fiji.
Forum Island Countries (FICs) had agreed to broaden the current PICTA to include commitments in trade in services. The PICTA trade in services negotiations were launched in 2008, and seven rounds of negotiations on the opening up of the services sectors amongst the FICs have concluded.
The latest round of PICTA trade in services negotiations focused on refinements to the text for the proposed PICTA trade in services agreement, and finalising of the bilateral negotiations between the FICs. A comprehensive review of the overall status of the PICTA trade in services negotiations was undertaken, with emphasis on the conclusion of the PICTA trade in services negotiations in 2012.
Pacific ACP Leaders at their meeting in September 2011 agreed that the Forum Island Countries organise necessary consultations, followed by domestic approvals of PICTA trade in services text and associated schedules of commitments with the objective of concluding the PICTA trade in services negotiations and finalising the arrangements for Leaders’ consideration at their meeting in August 2012.
The Forum Island Country delegations present at the seventh round of the PICTA trade in services meeting agreed to a framework for final engagement of key stakeholders and for progressing the finalization of the PICTA trade in services text and the related schedule of commitments for consideration by the Pacific ACP Trade Officials and Ministers in May 2012.
The Trade Ministers will consider the recommendations of the Trade Officials on the PICTA trade in services and will make appropriate recommendations to the Leaders.
A study on the Social Impact Assessment of the PICTA trade in services agreement is currently being undertaken and a report will be available to the FICs in March 2012 for their consideration as they finalise their PICTA trade in services commitments.
As a starting point for liberalisation of services sectors in the region, the PICTA trade in services commitments focuses on economic sectors with common priorities for all Forum Island Countries, notably tourism, transportation and business services. Individual FICs are making commitments in specific economic sectors of importance to them taking into account their capacity to open up their economies to other FICs.
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