logo logo

Fiji to consult with PNG on PACER Plus agreement

Loop | 23 February 2023

Fiji to consult with PNG on PACER Plus agreement

Prime Minister James Marape was in Fiji this week to hold talks with Fiji Prime Minister
Sitiveni Rabuka on strengthening bilateral ties and deepening cooperation as the bigger Pacific
Island Countries within the region.

Both Leaders acknowledged the importance of advancing the existing areas of bilateral cooperation in
trade, labour mobility, climate change, sports; defence cooperation and policing partnerships; and other
areas of mutual interest, including the Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations (PACER) Plus

PM Rabuka further informed of the Fiji government’s intention to review the PACER Plus agreement in
close consultation with PNG given both countries’ shared interests under this regional trade

PACER Plus is a comprehensive regional development-centred free trade agreement between Australia,
New Zealand and nine Pacific island countries (Cook Islands, Nauru, Niue, Kiribati, Tuvalu, Samoa,
Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu). PACER Plus was agreed in 2017.
However, an inquiry into PACER Plus stated that The Australian Fair Trade
and Investment Network Ltd (AFTINET) was particularly critical of PACER Plus because Fiji and PNG, which
together make up over 80 per cent of Pacific island economic output, have not signed PACER Plus, which
severely undermines claims that PACER Plus is an effective regional agreement.

AFTINET further stated that Fiji and PNG did not sign PACER Plus because they had said the deal is
lopsided and does not meet their development needs.

Meantime, Prime Minister Rabuka acknowledged the growing investments in Fiji by PNG companies and
highlighted the need for Fijian companies to learn from PNG and diversify their investment opportunities
both internally and externally.

Under the MSG Free Trade Agreement, which Solomon Islands and Fiji signed in 2017, it was further
recommended to PNG to consider signing the agreement given the significant opportunity it provides to
promote trade and investment between both countries and the MSG sub-region as a whole.

 source: Loop