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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 citizen’s guide to an emerging empire
This article is an introduction or guide to PICTA, PACER and the WTO in the Pacific. The ’guide’ gives readers basic knowledge of both trade agreements and the stepping stone function they provide towards the WTO re-colonising the Pacific.
A citizen’s guide to an emerging empire
This article is an introduction or guide to PICTA, PACER and the WTO in the Pacific. The ’guide’ gives readers basic knowledge of both trade agreements and the stepping stone function they provide towards the WTO re-colonising the Pacific.
Opening of the 9th Roundtable Meeting for Pacific Island Countries on WTO and Regional Trade Agreements
Jim Anderton opened the 9th Round Table meeting for Pacific Island Countries on WTO and regional trade agreement provisions in Wellington today. He stressed that although currently only three Pacific Island Countries are WTO members, it is important to become part of the multilateral trade system.
Is the Pacific ready for trade talks?
Pacific Trade Ministers begin annual talks in Fiji on Wednesday, amid claims New Zealand is pressuring Pacific Forum countries into starting free trade negotiations they are not ready for.
Fiji: 1st Pacific island nation ready to implement FTA
Fiji has announced it is ready to implement a regional free trade agreement, the Pacific Islands Countries Trade Agreement (PICTA), as soon as practicable.
Pacific nations’ threat
Papua New Guinea and other Pacific Island countries are likely to be forced to drop trade barriers earlier than planned to Australia and New Zealand.
Vanuatu ratifies Pacific Island Countries Trade Agreement
Vanuatu has ratified the Pacific Island Countries Trade Agreement (PICTA). The PICTA seeks to create a free trade area over a decade, initially starting with the Pacific Forum Island Countries, and providing for expansion to other trade partners in future.
Pacific Island nations seek closer economic ties with NZ, Australia
Pacific Islands Forum countries have decided it is now time to move beyond their existing SPARTECA agreement with Australia and New Zealand, according to reports from Nadi, Fiji, on Friday.
Fiji: NGOs want more consultation
Non-Governmental Organisation’s and regional civil society organizations are concerned that not enough thought is being given to trade agreements, says coordinator Stanley Simpson.
A People’s Guide to PACER
A People’s Guide to PACER by Prof Jane Kelsey. Commissioned by the Pacific Network on Globalisation - Aug 2004