Trade in Goods is a core issue in the PACER Plus negotiations. The Parties intend to adopt measures that would enhance the security and predictability of their trading regimes with a view to promoting competition and affording consumers in the PACER Plus region access to a wider range of quality goods at affordable prices. The Parties intend to build on the relevant disciplines in the GATT 1994. There will be commitments on the non-discrimination principle (most favoured nation and national treatment), the prohibition of quantitative restrictions and the use of price-based measures, particularly tariffs whenever deemed expedient to give protection to domestic manufacturers or producers. There will be extensive commitments on transparency, including the publication of relevant trade laws and regulations and affording Parties the right to contest any relevant administrative decision affecting the operation of the Trade in Goods Chapter.
There is the recognition of the importance of tariff revenue to the FICs and the need for them to have policy space to protect their infant industries. To that end, there will be differentiated treatment in terms of tariff commitments to be assumed by the Parties. Australia and New Zealand currently provide virtually duty free access to goods originating in the FICs under SPARTECA and would be expected to eliminate the few remaining tariff barriers upon the entry into force of the PACER Plus Agreement. There is the understanding that the FICs would undertake lesser tariff obligations and be able to phase in their commitments taking into account their individual circumstances.
To ensure that tariff commitments are not undermined by non-tariff barriers, the PACER Plus Parties are negotiating parallel agreements on a number of issues, including sanitary and phytosanitary measures and technical barriers to trade. There will be strict disciplines on import licensing to ensure that they are not used as a disguised restriction on trade. There will also be provisions on trade remedies to allow the Parties to deal with cases of unfair trading practices such as dumping and the provision of illegal subsidies. In that regard, the Parties intend to incorporate the WTO Agreements on Anti-Dumping and Subsidies and Countervailing Measures by reference. There will also be provisions that will allow the Parties to adopt safeguard measures to protect their domestic industries in the event of a surge of imports and also to deal with balance of payments difficulties. There will be provisions on general and security exceptions based on Articles XX and XXI of the GATT 1994.