The PACER Plus trade and development agreement was signed yesterday by ten Forum Member countries in Tonga.
“The signature of PACER Plus marks an important milestone for the Pacific region, taking forward a joint commitment by Forum Members for a framework that supports regional economic integration”, said the Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum, Dame Meg Taylor.
At their meeting in 2016, Forum Leaders had reiterated the need for PACER Plus to promote regional integration in the Pacific, and to assist the Forum Island Countries to achieve robust economic growth and sustainable development.
“The implementation of the PACER Plus must ensure that the development needs of the Forum Island Countries are addressed through sustainable trade and economic development,” Dame Meg said.
Australia and New Zealand will provide appropriate resources for the implementation of PACER Plus with respect to the development and economic cooperation, and for the broader trade related assistance needs of the FICs In this regard, a Readiness Package of AUD7.7 million is available to signatories of PACER Plus to assist in the work that needs to be undertaken to facilitate the ratification of the agreement. A further AUD25.5 million allocation has also been committed to assist Forum Island Countries implement PACER Plus.
The PACER Plus negotiations were launched in 2009 with the aim of promoting regional integration in the Pacific, and to assist Forum Island Countries achieve robust economic growth and sustainable development. In April 2017, 14 Forum member countries concluded negotiations on the PACER Plus legal text and market access.
Eight Forum Members need to complete the ratification process for PACER Plus for the Agreement to come into force.
Australia, the Cook Islands, Kiribati, Nauru, New Zealand, Niue, Samoa, the Solomon Islands, Tonga and Tuvalu have signed PACER Plus.