During negotiations on an economic partnership agreement with the European Union, the secretariat of the Pacific Islands Forum provided technical advice on a number of trade and economic issues. But the secretariat cannot play the same role in the PACER Plus negotiations, where all parties are members of the forum on both sides of the negotiations. International trade is increasingly recognized as a determinant of economic growth and developments in the Pacific. “At the end of the day, the region can come together in this process. When you talk about Papua New Guinea and the negotiation of a possible EuRH with Australia – you already have trade agreements and development aid agreements – there is always a bilateral element for trade relations between each of the FICs and Australia and New Zealand. The relationship also varies between all CFCs. The economic vulnerability of small island states has been largely attributed to their intrinsic characteristics and problems, which include physical isolation and remoteness from key markets; The minimum share of world trade; low productivity and insufficient supply; The inability to diversify production; High transportation and transit costs difficulties in attracting foreign investment; competitiveness. Sparteca is a non-reciprocal free trade agreement between the FICs and Australia and New Zealand. It came into force in 1981 and allows duty-free access to all FIC products. The general rules of origin under SPARTECA are very complex and cumbersome, and the FICs want these rules to be reviewed to improve market access to Australia and New Zealand. Economic and legal analytical research has been made available to guide trade positions in the NICs with respect to the PACER Plus agreement on closer economic relations between the FICs and Australia and New Zealand. These include more than 170 analytical reports that inform the meetings of trade officials with PACER Plus.
These include an article-by-article analysis of the various chapters of PACER Plus to identify, among other things, commitments, specific enforcement measures, responsible primary and secondary institutions, resource needs, available resources and existing gaps that must be filled in order for PNPs to meet their obligations. In addition, the latest in-depth analytical work on labour market liberalization experience has been finalized in some free trade agreements: parallels have been drawn with PACER Plus. Fiji expressed concerns about the separation of PACER-Plus from the original PACER framework. Former Australian Trade Minister Simon Crean described PACER-PLUS as “totally separate” from PACER. The Pacific Closer Economic Relations Agreement (PACER) is a framework agreement between members of the Forum Island Countries plus Australia and New Zealand that provides a framework for the future development of trade cooperation. “The OCTA was created following a decision by the Forum`s trade ministers and approved by forum officials. The Office`s mandate is to assist and assist the Forum Islands countries in their trade negotiations with Australia and New Zealand. The office is responsible and only takes over the management of the FICs. It is very important that the Office be independent of the Forum secretariat, as the secretariat has a larger membership in Australia, New Zealand and the IABs.