Pacific Island Countries Trade Agreement
Heads of Pacific governments are moving forward with groundwork on negotiations for a renewed trading partnership with the European Union, as part of the larger African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States.
While Fiji has rejoined the Pacific agreement on closer economic relations (PACER) Plus negotiations after a lapse of more than five years, the road to reaching a mutual agreement has not been easy.
Fourteen Pacific Island Forum countries are currently locked in negotiations with their two largest economic neighbours, Australia and New Zealand, to forge a new regional free trade agreement called ‘PACER Plus’, which supporters believe will boost economic growth in the region.
China’s pursuit of free trade within the Asia-Pacific region is shaping up as one of the key issues to be discussed at this year’s APEC summit to be held in Beijing in November.
The Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat secretary general, Tuiloma Neroni Slade wants the region to intensify and accelerate its efforts towards regional integration.
Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum has questioned the merits of trade agreements that serve to benefit the economically powerful more than developing economies.
Any regional economic agreement that excludes Fiji will be an ineffective instrument for trade and development says Trade Minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.
Tactics employed by Australia and New Zealand to push Pacific Island countries into signing a free trade agreement are a form of “contemporary colonization,” said academic and respected analyst on Pacific Island affairs, Professor Jane Kelsey at a seminar in Auckland last week.
The Rudd government has made much of its ’new approach’ to Australia’s island neighbours, but the view from the Pacific — especially of the aggressive pursuit of a new free trade deal as part of the Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations (PACER) — is that not much has changed.
Not all Pacific Islands countries are ready to open their doors to free trade under the Pacific Island Countries Trade Agreement (PICTA), according to the Pacific Islands ACP Trade Ministers’ Meeting that was held in Fiji this week.
Under pressure to sign on to new free trade agreements, Pacific Islands governments interested in securing positive outcomes for their peoples see deals on labour mobility as potential development gains. But is this the right approach? And what are the potential costs?
The Fiji Trades Union Congress (FTUC) has written to the interim Government to include workers in talks regarding the various trade agreements Fiji is treaty to.
Tuvalu has become the 11th Pacific Forum Country to ratify the Pacific Island Countries Trade Agreement (PICTA).
Senior trade officials from around the Pacific region will finalise trade deals as an extension to the existing Pacific Islands Countries Trade Agreement by October.
The Pacific Network on Globalisation warned Pacific governments to be wary of viewing Pacific Island Countries Trade Agreement as "stepping stone" towards free trade deals with rich nations.
According to the organizers, this year’s US-NZ Partnership Forum will in part focus on the, “potential for the United States and New Zealand to cooperate on ... economic development and sustainability in the Asia Pacific region.”
This study was prompted by concern among some of the smaller Forum
Island Countries about the impact of the introduction of the Pacific
Island Countries Trade Agreement (PICTA) on their local economies and,
specifically, the impact of a reduction in tariffs on government revenues.
Palau’s president, Tommy Remengesau, believes the Pacific Islands Forum - comprising 16 independent countries of the Pacific including Australia and New Zealand - is introducing free trade into the region in the wrong way.
A meeting in August is likely to explore the possibility of a free trade agreement between Pacific Island countries and New Zealand and Australia but rapid progress is not expected.
This article is an introduction or guide to PICTA, PACER and the WTO in the Pacific. The ’guide’ gives readers basic knowledge of both trade agreements and the stepping stone function they provide towards the WTO re-colonising the Pacific.