The Office of the Chief Trade Adviser has announced that the 13th Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations (PACER) Plus inter-sessional meeting will take place in Nadi, Fiji from 7-9 December 2015. This would be the fourth inter-sessional meeting held this year, following the first three meetings held in Vanuatu in May, Samoa in August and Australia in October.
PACER Plus negotiations were launched by Forum Leaders in August 2009 in Cairns, Australia, and it is expected that the trade and development agreement will contribute to enhancing the participation of the Forum Island Countries in the international trade. At their meeting in Port Moresby in September 2015, the Forum Leaders reaffirmed their commitment in PACER Plus as an instrument for promoting regional integration in the Pacific and assisting the Forum Island Countries to achieve robust economic growth and sustainable development. They instructed that the negotiations be completed at the latest in June 2016.
The Chief Trade Adviser for the Forum Island Countries, Dr. Edwini Kessie, says that the Parties will focus on the few outstanding issues in the negotiations and advance work on the exchange of offers in Trade in Goods, Trade in Services and Investment with a view to completing the negotiations by June 2016 as mandated by the Leaders.
“The negotiations are in a decisive phase with a few issues left to be resolved by the Parties. At the forthcoming inter-sessional meeting, the Parties will identify possible landing zones which would enable them to bridge the gaps in their negotiating positions,” Dr Kessie said.
“They are determined to conclude a high quality trade and investment agreement which will contribute to the reversal of the marginalisation of the Forum Island Countries in international trade by assisting them to increase and diversify their exports as well as to attract foreign direct investment into the important sectors of their economies.”
Once concluded, the PACER Plus Agreement is expected to enter into force in 2017 after ratification by the legislatures of the Parties.