Former Minister for Trade
Australian Commonwealth Coat of Arms

Joint Media Release

Minister for Trade, Simon Crean and Parliamentary Secretary for International Development Assistance, Bob McMullan

2 October 2009

Australia delivering trade support to the Pacific

Australia has reaffirmed its long-standing support for the negotiation of a new trade and economic integration agreement in the Pacific – known as PACER Plus.

The first $250,000 of Australia’s contribution to establish the Office of the Chief Trade Adviser was delivered to the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat this week. The transfer took place on Thursday, 1 October.

“Australia is delivering on its commitment to provide A$1.5 million over three years for the Office of the Chief Trade Adviser,” Minister for Trade Simon Crean said.

The Office of the Chief Trade Adviser will be based in Vanuatu and will provide Forum Island countries with independent support and advice over the course of the PACER Plus negotiation.

“Australia is aware that Forum Island countries face negotiating capacity constraints and is committed to ensuring they can participate in the negotiations and reap the benefits of the new opportunities this agreement can deliver,” Mr Crean said.

Parliamentary Secretary for International Development Assistance Bob McMullan said: “The negotiation of PACER Plus provides the long-term opportunity to create jobs, enhance private sector growth, raise standards of living and boost long-term sustainable economic growth in forum island countries.”

In addition to supporting the Office of Chief Trade Adviser, Australia has also funded each Forum Island country to conduct independent trade research and train additional trade officers.

In June, Australia announced it will provide up to $15.5 million over four years to boost market access for Pacific exports by helping countries meet customs and quarantine requirements of key trading partners, including Australia.

Pacific Island Forum Leaders agreed at the August Forum meeting to start PACER Plus negotiations. The negotiations will involve at the outset Australia, the Cook Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Nauru, New Zealand, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Samoa, the Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.

 

Media Inquiries: Mr Crean’s office, Clinton Porteous: 0403 369 588, Departmental Media Liaison 02 6261 1555