PACER Plus, the Australia/New Zealand/Pacific Islands free trade agreement has entered into force.
Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, Simon Birmingham said PACER Plus was a major step in strengthening Australia’s relationship with our Pacific partners and would play a valuable role in supporting recovery in the region from COVID-19.
“This trade deal ensures greater market access and lower tariffs across a range of products which will benefit communities, farmers, fishers, businesses and investors in our region,” Minister Birmingham said.
Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Women, Senator the Hon Marise Payne added that the entry into force of the Agreement offered important opportunities at a time when the region was focussed on economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Australia, Cook Islands, Kiribati, Niue, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga and New Zealand are parties to the Agreement. The remaining signatories that are yet to ratify are Nauru, Tuvalu and Vanuatu. Signatories will become parties to the Agreement 60 days after they have ratified the Agreement.
Australia and New Zealand have agreed to set all tariffs on Pacific Island goods imports at zero, while Pacific Island countries have committed to liberalise tariffs.
Over time, Australian exporters will benefit from more liberal market access in the Pacific Islands economies in sectors such as meat, dairy, grains, oilseeds, fats and oils, sugar, processed food and beverages, animal feed, plastics, chemicals, metals and metal products, specialised machinery and equipment, car parts, electrical and electronic goods and mineral fuels.
Australia will also help Pacific Island countries to upgrade their sanitary and phyto-sanitary capabilities so that those countries can access market opportunities in Australia.
Pacific Island countries will also benefit from flexible rules of origin and product specific rules which will allow producers to source inputs from a range of external and domestic suppliers and still qualify for duty-free entry to Australia.