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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


Tuvalu to sign regional trade deal
Tuvalu’s cabinet has agreed to sign the PACER-Plus regional trade agreement following a two-day national consultation last week.
Pacific NGOs maintain opposition to PACER Plus
Dozens of civil society groups in the Pacific have reiterated their criticism of the PACER Plus trade deal, and said it is likely to fail the people of the Pacific.
PACER Plus signing on 14 June
The PACER Plus Trade Agreement will be signed by 14 Pacific Island countries including Australia and New Zealand on June 14 in Nuku’alofa, Tonga.
Aus, NZ trying to corner India in Oceania
One of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s most insightful, if low key, foreign policy initiatives was to work to deepen relations with more than a dozen island nations of Oceania.
New Pacific trade pact goes against the protectionist tide
But 14-nation deal may be largely symbolic without Fiji and Papua New Guinea.
Guide to PACER-Plus
A new guide allows Pacific Islanders to better understand the impacts of the recently concluded and controversial regional Free Trade Agreement, known as PACER-Plus.
Fiji wants to renegotiate PACER Plus
Fiji’s trade minister Faiyaz Koya says Fiji will approach Australia after missing out on the conclusion of the PACER Plus talks.
Barry Coates: PACER Plus – how the Pacific Way is being undermined
There were promises that the agreement would be for the benefit of the Pacific. But it has been shaped more by the advantages to Australia and New Zealand exporters than the aspirations of the Pacific’s people.
Fiji was excluded from PACER plus
Fiji did not pull out of the PACER Plus trade negotiations. It had been excluded.
PACER-Plus trade deal without PNG and Fiji a bad deal
PNG and Fiji’s rejection shows that the agreement is heavily skewed towards the interests of Australia and New Zealand - despite early rhetoric that the agreement was about development needs.