The Pacific Island Countries Trade Agreement (PICTA) is an FTA on trade in goods among 14 members of the Pacific Islands Forum. (Australia and New Zealand are excluded.) It was signed in 2001. Eleven countries — Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Niue, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu — have so far ratified PICTA. As of 2008, it is being expanded to trade in services.

The Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations or PACER is a framework agreement to deepen trade and investment liberalisation in the broader Pacific on a step by step basis. It was signed in 2001 and came into force in 2002. PACER includes Australia and New Zealand, who are excluded from PICTA and commits all members to begin negotiations towards a free trade agreement by 2011 at the latest. In August 2008, Simon Crean, Australia’s Trade Minister at the time, started advocating a "PACER-plus" agreement, in lieu of the originally envisaged FTA, which signals the aggressiveness of Australia’s stance to achieve an agreement, particularly given the EU’s pending EPA with the Pacific Island states. A number of officials and civil society critiques from the Pacific Islands have stated that the PACER deal is of little benefit to them, some pushing for greater labour mobility for Pacific Island workers to Australia and New Zealand. In June 2011, Fiji’s Attorney-General charged that PACER is only really benefitting the economically powerful in the region – Australia and New Zealand.

last update: May 2012


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  • 18-Nov-2015 New Matilda Worried about the TPP? Australia is pushing another bad deal
    Despite receiving little attention in Australia, efforts to establish a new regional trade agreement are raising eyebrows among Pacific neighbours
  • 29-Oct-2015 Radio Australia Accord de libre-échange PACER + : les négociations patinent
    Les ministres du Commerce de la région se réunissent à Rarotonga, aux Îles Cook, pour discuter de l’accord de libre-échange PACER +. Une énième réunion pour tenter de faire aboutir les négociations.
  • 15-Oct-2015 Fiji Sun Fiji will not change its stance
    Agreement must be development-centered
  • 20-Sep-2015 PACER re-entry was vital
    While Fiji has rejoined the Pacific agreement on closer economic relations (PACER) Plus negotiations after a lapse of more than five years, the road to reaching a mutual agreement has not been easy.
  • 4-Jun-2015 Pacific Civil Society Swings Out Against Free Trade Agreement
    Fourteen Pacific Island Forum countries are currently locked in negotiations with their two largest economic neighbours, Australia and New Zealand, to forge a new regional free trade agreement called ‘PACER Plus’, which supporters believe will boost economic growth in the region.
  • 22-Apr-2015 PNG Post-Courier Pacific Network on Globalisation launches anti-PACER-Plus campaign
    The Pacific Network on Globalisation have launched their campaign against the regional free trade agreement, known as PACER-Plus.
  • 22-Apr-2015 Radio Australie PACER +, l’accord de libre-échange régional sous le feu des critiques
    L’association Pacific Network on Globalisation (PANG) lance une campagne anti-PACER+ appellant les gouvernements de la région à se retirer des négociations
  • 12-Dec-2014 PANG Pacific Civil Society calls for suspension of trade talks
    Pacific civil society organisations, including gender groups, environmental groups and regional non-government groups have called for the immediate suspension of the regional trade negotiations, known as PACER-Plus, and the release of the secret texts under negotiations.
  • 23-Jul-2014 Aidwatch Australian aid and trade watchdogs denounce Pacific Free Trade Agreement
    Independent Australian organisations, the Australian Fair Trade and Investment Network and AID/WATCH, have voiced serious concerns about the PACER-Plus Free Trade Agreement currently being negotiated between Australia, New Zealand and Pacific Island Countries.
  • 4-Jul-2013 Scoop Regional trade agreement more lopsided against Pacific
    In the middle of July, Pacific Island Trade Ministers will meet in Samoa with their Australian and New Zealand counterparts to discuss whether or not to expand the negotiations of PACER-Plus to include services and investment, reports the Pacific Network on Globalisation.
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  • PANG
    The Pacific Network on Globalisation (PANG) plays the role of the Pacific regional “peoples’ watchdog on trade issues”.