Delivered by the Chair of the Pacific ACP Trade Officials Meeting, H.E Jim Armistead -High Commissioner of Cook Islands to Fiji
at the Pacific ACP Trade Officials Meeting
3 October 2023, Suva, Fiji.
Mr. Esala Nayasi, PIFS Deputy Secretary General
Representatives of CROP Agencies and International Organizations
Observers and Special Guests
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen
It gives me great pleasure to welcome all of you to this Pacific ACP Trade Officials Meeting (PACPTOM). At the outset, I wish to convey my government’s appreciation to the Government of Fiji as the outgoing PACPTOM Chair for assisting the Secretariat in advancing our regional trade work programme.
As the Chair of the Forum, Cook Islands is looking forward to welcoming some of you at the upcoming 52nd Pacific Islands Forum Leaders Meeting from 6-10 November 2023 in Rarotonga.
The theme of this year’s Forum Leaders meeting is “Our Voices, Our Choices; Our Pacific Way: Promote, Partner, Prosper”. The theme is also aligned to the vision of the 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent that our Leaders have articulated. As your are aware, the Implementation Plan for the 2050 Strategy is being finalized and will be endorsed by Leaders during their convening. Cook Islands looks forward to welcoming all of you to our beautiful shores very soon.
At the meeting, the Cook Islands will submit for consideration of Forum Leaders the ‘Pacific Partnership for Prosperity (PPfP)’ that has nine initiatives. Key among those nine initiatives is the development of the Regional Framework on Climate Mobility which has been championed by Tuvalu and Fiji and balancing this with the Pacific Labour Mobility Framework. The PPfP represents existing and new initiatives that have transformative potential by attracting new funding, investment and partnerships to benefit our Pacific Communities.
It is my hope that the discussions we have today at the PACPTOM will be situated and connected to the broader policy framework and decisions of our Leaders in relation to these pieces of work. Trade is an essential catalyst for achieving greater regional economic integration through harmonization of our trade-related systems, processes and regulations and freer movement of goods and services across borders.
While in the past this meeting has been predominantly occupied with EU-Pacific trade partnership and for good reason, it is heartening to see relations with other emerging and non-traditional markets being considered as well, especially as a means to support economic recovery efforts following COVID-19.
Esteemed colleagues, we have a very detailed Agenda before us, and our duty now is to consider these issues and recommend the best way forward to our Ministers and indeed the Pacific region to pursue our trade development aspirations through trust and confidence in the collective wisdom of this meeting.
With these few remarks and noting the tight schedules ahead of us I wish you fruitful deliberations.