The Fourth Pacific Aid for Trade Roundtable Meeting held in Apia, Samoa, on 1 December 2012 has strongly supported the way forward for consultations on the renew and refresh process of the Pacific Aid for Trade Strategy.
In his opening remarks at the one-day Roundtable Meeting, Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, Tuiloma Neroni Slade said that, “As more developing countries have liberalised their markets and entered into global trade, it has become clear that open markets and trade agreements alone do not necessarily lead to increased trade and improved economic outcomes.” “This is particularly the case for small and remote economies, unless there is a concerted effort to deal with the specific constraints that limit countries’ ability to benefit from trade,” said Mr Slade.
The Pacific region is undertaking a refresh and renew process to develop a new Pacific Aid for Trade Strategy. This involves substantive and detailed consultations with all relevant stakeholders at the regional and national level.
Forum Secretary General, Mr Slade said: “The revised Strategy will be presented to Trade Ministers for their endorsement by mid-2013, and like any good strategy it will be reviewed again over an appropriate timeframe.”
According to the World Trade Organisation, “Aid for Trade is about assisting developing countries to increase exports of goods and services, to integrate into the multilateral trading system, and to benefit from liberalised trade and increased market access”.
The Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat was tasked to progress the work of the Pacific Aid for Trade Strategy which entailed an initial comprehensive assessment on Aid for Trade constraints for Pacific island countries undertaken in 2006 in the context of the Economic Partnership Agreement negotiations with the European Union. As a result, the initial Pacific Aid for Trade Strategy was formulated and the establishment of a Pacific Regional Trade and Development Facility (PRTDF) was initiated.
“Through increased and coordinated support by development partners,” Mr Slade said, “we can find practical and tangible Aid for Trade solutions for the benefit of our nations, our people and our region as a whole.”
The Fourth Pacific Aid for Trade Roundtable Meeting acknowledged the support by development partners for Aid for Trade initiatives in the Pacific and ongoing commitments to regional Aid for Trade approaches. Technical agencies were also thanked for their collaboration in implementing the Aid for Trade initiatives.
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