The Pacific Aid for Trade Strategy (PAfTS 2020-2025) Development Partners’ Roundtable

11:00am (Fiji Standard Time), Friday

02 August 2019

Suva,Fiji – Development Partners and stakeholders gathered at the Secretariat on July 31 for the Pacific Aid for Trade (PAfT) roundtable.

The consultative discussion saw dialogue around the areas of success, challenges and opportunities on the key role that PAfTS would play in the next five years in relation to aid for trade priorities for member states.

Director of Programmes and Initiatives (DPI), Mr. Zarak Khan, in his opening remarks underscored the importance of Aid for Trade in building trade capacity and infrastructure for developing and least developed countries to enable them to convert trade policies and strategies into tangible socio- economic development.  He said that PAfTS was a key contributor to economic empowerment and diversification in the region.

The PAfTS is a key regional priority that was discussed at the Forum Trade Officials (FTOM) Meeting on 11 July 2018 in Apia, Samoa, where officials supported the formulation of a new regional PAfTS, to ensure effective coordination of Aid for Trade resources, and priority setting at the regional level. PAfTS identifies regional trade policy priorities and ensures that it is properly resourced through Aid for Trade interventions while ensuring regional Aid for Trade projects and programmes are Member driven.

Member States identified high priority issues for address at the regional level, with coordination provided by the Secretariat. Member consultations in the lead up to FTOM in 2018 identified several priority topics, including critical services (transport, finance, telecommunications and tourism), e-commerce, connectivity, trade facilitation and quality infrastructure. These priorities are also aligned with discussions at the multilateral level where the draft PAfTS was well received by development partners at the recently concluded WTO Global Aid for Trade Review in Geneva.

Development partners gave an  overview of projects in trade integration; connectivity; trade in services and e-commerce with substantive feedback on the range of regional and bilateral projects that they are delivering in the Pacific region that have a strong correlation with the PAfTS.

The Aid for Trade priorities will continue to be driven by Member States in collaboration with development partners. The draft Strategy will be considered for finalization at the Forum Trade Ministers Meeting planned for later this year and once fully endorsed will be a key driver of the region’s Aid for Trade priorities.

For more information on the draft PAfTS (2020-2025) please contact our information desk on info@forumsec.org