Government Trade Ministers from across the Pacific met online yesterday, 30 June 2021, to discuss trade and the strengthening of economic co-operation and development.
A regional free trade agreement, the Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations Plus (called “PACER Plus”, or sometimes just “PACER”) entered into force across the Pacific on 13 December 2020.
Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Dan Tehan said the PACER Plus agreement was an important part of Australia’s commitment to the Indo-Pacific.
“The Pacific countries are our friends and neighbours and PACER Plus will make us all more successful and secure through working together to grow our economies, create jobs and enhance trade,” Mr Tehan said.
Minister for International Development and the Pacific Zed Seselja said the PACER Plus meeting discussed the delivery of the $25 million development and economic work program, co-funded by Australia.
“PACER Plus will boost trade and attract investment across our region, supporting economic recovery across the Pacific, which we know has been hit hard by the pandemic,” said Minister Seselja.
Australia, Cook Islands, Kiribati, Niue, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga and New Zealand are Parties to the PACER Agreement. The remaining signatories that are yet to ratify are Nauru, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.
The is a wide range of aspects of PACER Plus. Among the outcomes is the zero-rating for tariff purposes of goods imports to Australia and New Zealand for all goods imported from Pacific Island Countries. Pacific Island nations have committed to liberalise tariffs over time. Australian exporters will have more liberal market access in sectors such as meat, dairy, grains, oilseeds, fats, oils, sugar, plastics, chemicals, metals and metal products, specialised machinery car parts, electrical goods and electronic goods and mineral fuels, among other products. Liberalisation will vary greatly from Pacific nation-to-Pacific nation and over time.