Welcome to the OCTA
The Office of the Chief Trade Adviser (OCTA) provides independent advice and support to the Pacific Forum Island Countries (FICs) in the negotiations of the PACER Plus agreement with Australia and New Zealand.
The OCTA started operation on 29 March 2010. Fully owned and controlled by the Forum Island Countries, the OCTA is based in Port Vila, Vanuatu. Thirteen Forum Island Countries are currently members of the OCTA: Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Republic of Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.
The OCTA assists the FICs to analyse trade policy issues, develop and coordinate negotiating positions, build trade negotiation capacity, and advance their positions in trade negotiation meetings. The OCTA is headed by a Chief Trade Adviser.
The OCTA has a Governing Board comprising of three ministers and four senior officials from the Forum Island Countries. The Board is chaired by Hon. Peter Shanel Agovaka, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and External Trade for Solomon Islands, who is also the Forum Island Country Lead Spokesperson on PACER Plus matters.
The agreement to establish the OCTA was integral to the Forum Trade Ministers’ recommendation to commence negotiations on PACER Plus. The decision is in recognition of the need for the FICs to have independent advice and technical support on trade negotiations.
PACER Plus Negotiations
PACER Plus is a proposed trade and economic cooperation agreement currently negotiated between thirteen Forum Island Countries (FICs), and Australia and New Zealand.
In August 2009, Forum Leaders agreed to the recommendation from the Forum Trade Ministers to commence PACER Plus negotiations forthwith.
Parties to PACER Plus negotiations seek to promote gradual regional integration in a way that supports the economic development of the FICs and takes into account the differences among the parties.
The Plus in PACER Plus symbolises the aspiration of the Parties for it to be more than just a conventional trade agreement, but one which places the sustainable economic development of the FICs at its core.