Fourth Regional Dialogue on Pacer Plus Concludes

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The Fourth Dialogue with Non-State Actors (NSAs) on the Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations (PACER) Plus organised by the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS), with the theme “Enhancing NSA Engagement in PACER Plus” concluded on 12 December 2014 in Nadi, Fiji.

“We need deeper engagement with the private sector and civil society organisations in trade negotiations, considering that the implementation of trade agreements would be undertaken by businesses and would affect our communities,” Mr Keu Mataroa, the Chair of the Fourth Dialogue said. “There is a need for continued participation of the NSAs in PACER Plus discussions, and Forum Members need to ensure that relevant information on PACER Plus is disseminated to relevant stakeholders as negotiations progress,” Mr Mataroa added.

The NSA Dialogues on PACER Plus are organised in collaboration with the Pacific Islands Association of Non-Government Organisations (PIANGO) and the Pacific Islands Private Sector Organisation (PIPSO).

“The Dialogue provides an opportunity for Officials involved in PACER Plus negotiations to brief NSAs on the content and progress of PACER Plus negotiations. It also enables representatives from a range of national and regional NSAs from both the private sector and civil society organisations to discuss their issues of interest, ask questions and provide views on the goals and objectives of the proposed trade agreement between Forum Island Countries, Australia and New Zealand,” Mr Shiu Raj, Director of the Economic Governance Programme at the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat said.

“Forum Officials also provide an update on the various activities that they undertake at national level, including regular consultations with key stakeholders towards an inclusive engagement,” Mr Raj said.

At the launch of the PACER Plus negotiations, Forum Trade Ministers had called for an intensification of national consultations and subsequently directed that annual regional dialogues be held with NSAs on PACER Plus negotiations.

The Fourth NSA Dialogue was preceded by the Seventh Meeting of PACER Plus Officials held on 11 December 2014, and preparatory technical meetings earlier in the week organised by the Office of the Chief Trade Adviser.

Forum Trade Ministers at their meeting in May 2014 directed officials to intensify their discussions on the PACER Plus.

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