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PACER & PICTA

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


A People’s Guide to PACER released
The Pacific Network on Globalisation (PANG) has released a user-friendly report on the Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations (PACER) and the potential implications of a free trade agreement between Pacific island countries and Australia and New Zealand.
PICTA, PACER and EPAs: Where are we going?
It has been a relatively easy matter for Pacific Islands Country (PIC) governments to sign regional trade agreements such as PICTA (Pacific Island Countries Trade Agreement - excluding Australia and New Zealand) and PACER (Pacific Agreement for Closer Economic Relations - including Australia and NZ.)
Free trade worries at Nadi meeting
Nadi - There has not been enough public discussion on the creation of a Pacific free trade area, Fiji interest groups said yesterday. The issue was led by Stanley Simpson, of the Pacific Network on Globalisation (PANG).
Reassess free trade agreements
Recent experience with the implementation the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) Free Trade Area Agreement effectively illustrates how Pacific leaders sign regional and international agreements without adequate consultation and assessment at national and local level.
Big Brothers Behaving Badly: The Implications for the Pacific Islands of the Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations
The Implications for the Pacific Islands of the Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations by Prof. Jane Kelsey - commissioned by the Pacific Network on Globalisation - interim report - April 2004