Picta Agreement

PACER Plus is the proposed free trade agreement between the Forum Island Countries and Australia and New Zealand. Forum Island countries were firmly convinced of the need for an independent body to advise and support the PACER Plus negotiations, and the Office of the Chief Commercial Advator (OCTA) should therefore be set up. On March 29, 2010 was appointed Trade Adviser Head Chris Noonan, which is the first step towards the creation of the Office of the Chief Commercial Adverb. OCTA`s independence may have been compromised by the support it receives from some donors. It was signed in Nauru on 3 October 2002 and came into force on 3 October 2002. It is a framework agreement that sets out a framework for the future development of trade and economic relations throughout the Forum region. The extension of the PICTA agreement to trade in services and temporary migration of workers has been underway since March 2008. After seven rounds of negotiations, the picta protocol was submitted for ratification on 28 August 2012 for a one-year period. To date, the agreement has been signed by nine countries, including the Cook Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu. However, the “service protocol” does not take into account the different economic situations facing Pacific Island States. It is therefore not in line with the framework of the general agreement on goods and services; External technical expertise seems essential to assist FDP members in their transition to free trade.

It does not contain substantial provisions on trade liberalization; Rather, it provides for a gradual process of trade liberalization. This begins with a free trade agreement on goods between Pacific Island States (PICTA) which will be implemented from September 2008 and will likely be extended to services thereafter. Pacer provides programmes to assist members of island states, which facilitate exchanges and capacity building. It also provides for future forum-based reciprocal free trade negotiations (including Australia and New Zealand). For the time being, these negotiations are not scheduled for 2011, but they are likely to be preferred following the negotiations of the Pacific Island countries for an economic partnership agreement with the European Union. 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. In addition, PICTA has negotiations with Australia and New Zealand on the extension of the free trade area. It should lead to better consumer protection in island economies in order to create jobs. The establishment of this regional market aims to increase foreign direct investment in remote Pacific islands. The ability to reach a harmonized market of 7 million people can encourage investors.

In May 2005, the Forum`s trade ministers decided that a broader framework for trade and economic cooperation between Australia, New Zealand and the FICs, beyond THE DIVISION, as envisaged under PACER, was needed to promote economic growth, investment and employment in the Pacific region. They called for a study to examine the possible effects of such a comprehensive framework and to analyze the CIF`s needs for capacity building, trade promotion and structural reforms. The mandate of the study was approved in 2006 and a draft study was submitted to trade ministers in 2007.

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