Vanuatu ratifies Pacific Island Countries Trade Agreement

Asia Pulse

VANUATU RATIFIES PACIFIC ISLAND COUNTIRES TRADE AGREEMENT

Monday June 27, 2005

PORT VILA, June 27 Asia Pulse - Vanuatu has ratified the Pacific Island Countries Trade Agreement (PICTA).

Vanuatu’s instrument of ratification was received by the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat on 21 June, and enters into force on 21 July 2005.

Forum Secretary General, Greg Urwin, has welcomed Vanuatu’s ratification of the trade agreement.

"This will help to deepen the integration of Forum Island Country economies as it evolves over the coming years," said Mr Urwin, who is the official depositary for PICTA.

"Although trade among our island economies is currently small at around three to four per cent of total Pacific Island trade, we expect that this will grow"

"The small level of trade also means the social impacts of integration will initially be small as we boost our expertise in trading with each other, and with the wider world," Mr Urwin said.

At the recent Forum Trade Ministers Meeting, good progress towards the implementation of PICTA was noted.

The Parties are working towards their domestic regulatory requirements to implement PICTA by January 2006.

The PICTA seeks to create a free trade area over a decade, initially starting with the Forum Island Countries, and providing for expansion to other trade partners in future.

Ten Forum Island Countries (Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Niue, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu) have now ratified the trade agreement.

Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), Palau, Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) and Tuvalu are yet to sign the agreement.

The Compact Countries, FSM, Palau and the RMI in light of the circumstances of their relationship with the USA have been given an extended time to sign the agreement.

(Pacnews)

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source: Asia Pulse