Pacific Islands Forum supports economic growth through trade policy frameworks

The value of incorporating trade policy frameworks into national development plans to ensure inclusive and holistic approaches to economic growth is the subject of talks this week at the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat.
Forum Trade Ministers have emphasised the importance of trade policy frameworks and recognised the need for their implementation to be mainstreamed through National Development Plans and Strategies.
In response, the Forum Secretariat and its development partners have produced a practical trade mainstreaming guide to assist Member States undertake effective and inclusive trade mainstreaming processes. The guide will be considered by Pacific Island officials during a two-day regional trade mainstreaming workshop in Nadi (Fiji), from October 30th (2017).
In the lead-up, three trade officials are undertaking a Trade Policy Mainstreaming attachment this week to learn and share what they know about the intersectional ties between trade policies and other socio-economic development issues.
Speaking at the opening session of the attachment, Pacific Islands Forum Deputy Secretary General Cristelle Pratt, said the Forum Secretariat has been supporting members to formulate national trade and Investment policy frameworks, so as to empower Member States’ integration into regional and global trading economies.
“Effective implementation of these frameworks require multi-disciplinary skills and the whole of government and related stakeholder groups’ collaboration. The attachment is expectedto inculcate cross-cutting skills in trade officials to manage the complex mainstreaming processes,” Ms. Pratt said.
“The Secretariat is committed to supporting its Members to enhance their economic growth through strengthened economic cooperation, increasing integration and improved access to goods, services, labour and capital.”
Over the course of the week, Bettyrose Buas (Vanuatu), Justin Togoran (Nauru) and Tentaku Tentoa (Kiribati) will be exposed to practical lessons and tools for the effective implementation and monitoring of trade policy frameworks.
A core value of the Pacific Islands Forum is support for inclusivity, equity and equality for all Pacific people and its Framework for Pacific Regionalism aspires to economic growth that is inclusive and equitable. By working collectively to harmonise how they integrate trade policies into national plans, Forum Island countries seek to create a regional environment that supports private sector growth and is conducive to expanded business opportunities.
Forum Secretariat Director Programmes and Initiatives Shiu Raj said “as part of its new Strategic Framework, the Forum Secretariat is now embracing new forms of inclusive regionalism founded on people-centred development.
“One of the four pillars of PIFS Strategic Framework relates to people centred development. Therefore, this attachment is essential in building the skills of own people to strengthen national capacities, and advance multiple forms of regional cooperation, including the harmonisation and standardisation of business practices amongst Forum Members,” Mr Raj said.
“Regionalism is the solution to our structure constraints such as small domestic markets and isolation from markets; and a practical way to support the development of the private sector within members.”
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