Fifth Non State Actors Dialogue on the PACER Plus Regional Trade Negotiations

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More than eighty participants from across the Pacific region will convene in Nadi, Fiji on 4-5 December 2015 for the Fifth Non-State Actors Dialogue on the Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations (PACER) Plus regional trade negotiations.

The meeting is jointly organised by the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat and the Office of the Chief Trade Adviser, which provides support to Forum Island Countries in the PACER Plus negotiations.

“The Dialogue will provide an opportunity for the private sector and civil society representatives, along with Trade Officials from across the region, to discuss the contents of the PACER Plus Agreement currently being negotiated amongst Forum Members,” Mr Shiu Raj, Officer-in-charge at the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat said.

“The discussions are expected to also focus on issues relating to the implementation of trade agreements in the Pacific region and the impact that PACER Plus could have in the region, including ways in which the Pacific Islands’ development needs can be addressed,” Mr Raj added.

“Harmonizing and streamlining the various regional trade initiatives can help reduce the administrative cost of implementation. It can also help micro, small and medium enterprises better penetrate regional markets and place them at the centre of trade cooperation. PACER Plus seeks to achieve this goal,” Dr Edwini Kessie, Chief Trade Adviser stated.

The two-day Dialogue will be attended by the private sector and civil society representatives, otherwise known as non-state actors, as well as Trade Officials from Forum Members, including entities engaged in trade-related discourse in the region. The programme for the two days has been developed in close consultation with the Pacific Islands Private Sector Organisation (PIPSO) and the Pacific Islands Association of Non-Government Organisations (PIANGO).

Forum Leaders have requested that a high quality trade and investment agreement among the Forum Members be concluded by June 2016. The Eighth PACER Plus Officials Meeting will be convened on 7 December to progress the negotiations taking into account the messages from the Dialogue.