At the recently concluded Special Forum Trade Ministers Meeting in Christchurch, New Zealand, where the Parties completed negotiations on the PACER Plus legal texts, Australia and New Zealand committed an amount of US$5.8 million to assist the Forum Island Countries (FICs) to implement a number of “fast-track” technical assistance and capacity building activities which should assist them in their preparations to accede to the PACER Plus Agreement. The “readiness package” will be available to PACER Plus signatories between the date of signature and entry into force of the Agreement, and is intended to provide, inter alia, customs, revenue and legislative support to address policy and administrative implications of PACER Plus commitments during the ratification process. The envisaged fast-track activities requested by the FICs include:
- support for domestic ratification processes including legislative reviews;
- assistance with transposing and implementing up-to-date tariff codes at the border;
- training on new notification requirements under PACER Plus;
- support for tax reform efforts to shift from tariffs to other sources of revenue; and
- support for communications activities, including stakeholder engagement, to promote PACER Plus and build support for implementation.
The full development assistance package will be confirmed prior to signature of PACER Plus. The funding package will assist the FICs to implement their obligations under the PACER Plus Agreement and address the supply-side constraints that have thus far impeded their efforts to increase and diversify their exports and enhance their participation in international trade.