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PACER & PICTA

The Pacific Island Countries Trade Agreement (PICTA) is an FTA on trade in goods among 14 members of the Pacific Islands Forum. (Australia and New Zealand are excluded.) It was signed in 2001. Eleven countries — Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Niue, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu — have so far ratified PICTA. As of 2008, it is being expanded to trade in services.

The Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations or PACER is a framework agreement to deepen trade and investment liberalisation in the broader Pacific on a step by step basis. It was signed in 2001 and came into force in 2002. PACER includes Australia and New Zealand, who are excluded from PICTA and commits all members to begin negotiations towards a free trade agreement by 2011 at the latest. In August 2008, Simon Crean, Australia’s Trade Minister at the time, started advocating a "PACER-plus" agreement, in lieu of the originally envisaged FTA, which signals the aggressiveness of Australia’s stance to achieve an agreement, particularly given the EU’s pending EPA with the Pacific Island states. A number of officials and civil society critiques from the Pacific Islands have stated that the PACER deal is of little benefit to them, some pushing for greater labour mobility for Pacific Island workers to Australia and New Zealand. In June 2011, Fiji’s Attorney-General charged that PACER is only really benefitting the economically powerful in the region – Australia and New Zealand.

last update: May 2012


PACER Plus ineffective without Fiji: AG
Any regional economic agreement that excludes Fiji will be an ineffective instrument for trade and development says Trade Minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.
No strings needed on funding for OCTA - NGOs
A number of Australian non government organisation say they are concerned that Australia and New Zealand want to limit the activities of the Pacific-led trade advisory body, the Office of Chief Trade Adviser — also known as OCTA.
No rush: Rugebatu warns against rushing into PACER Plus
The Solomon Islands’ biggest umbrella body for community service organisations on Saturday warned against rushing into PACER-Plus – a free trade agreement proposed between Pacific Island countries, Australia and New Zealand.
PACER-Plus: Why we need to get it right
“PACER-Plus is the most important economic negotiation that Forum Islands nations will undertake this decade, so you need to get it right.” So says Dr Chris Noonan, Chief Trade Advisor to Forum Islands Countries for the PACER-Plus free trade negotiations.
Speed of PACER-plus negotiations unfair on Pacific Island nations
Australia and New Zealand are being accused of fast-tracking the Pacific-wide free trade agreement, PACER-Plus. Civil society organisations want a moratorium on negotiations.
Moratorium needed on Pacific trade talks, warn Pacific Civil Society Organisations
Civil society groups from the Pacific including churches, trade unions, gender groups, indigenous rights groups and advocacy groups launched a statement calling for a moratorium on negotiations for a new Pacific-wide free trade agreement known as PACER-Plus.
Pacific Islands Trade: A year’s worth of bad outcomes
Despite being launched only a year ago by Pacific leaders, the negotiations on the Pacific trade agreement known as PACER-Plus are slipping away from the Islands.
Food for thought and action
A critical look at the likely implications of a free trade agreement dubbed Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations Plus (PACER-Plus) between the island countries and Australia and New Zealand on food sovereignty.
Trade ministers to begin talks on Pacific deal
Trade ministers from Australia, New Zealand and Pacific island countries will meet in Brisbane for two days from Friday as negotiations are launched for the Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations (PACER-Plus).
Fiji will pull out from trade agreements
Fiji’s Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama says Fiji will pull out of the Trade Agreement negotiations.