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PRESS STATEMENT October 3, 2000

The South Pacific Forum Secretariat and the People's Republic of China have agreed to the text of an Agreement, establishing a Trade Office in Beijing to promote trade and investment between China and Forum Island countries.

The actual signing of the Agreement will take place at the end of the month during the Post Forum Dialogue in Tarawa, Kiribati, following the annual meeting of the 16-member South Pacific Forum.

The Post Forum Dialogue is the main consultative vehicle for multilateral assistance between the Forum and its Dialogue Partners - Canada, People's Republic of China, European Union, France, Japan, Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Philippines, United Kingdom and the United States.

At last year's Post Forum Dialogue in Koror, Palau, the People's Republic of China announced the establishment of a US$ 3 million "China-South Pacific Forum Cooperation Fund" to be disbursed over a period of five years. This was to cover the costs of a trade office and other projects.

Talks on the text of the Agreement establishing the trade office were finalized this week, in preparation for formal signing at the end of the month in Tarawa. The final text was initialed today in Suva by the Secretary General of the Forum Secretariat, Mr. Noel Levi, CBE, and the Suva-based Ambassador for the People's Republic of China, HE Chen Jinghua.

The Pacific Islands Forum Trade Office in Beijing is expected to be in operation by the first quarter of 2001. It aims to strengthen the cooperation between Forum Island Countries and the People's Republic of China in economic, trade, investment and other fields.

The Beijing Trade Office will be the fourth trade agency of the Forum Secretariat - the others are the South Pacific Trade Commission in Auckland, New Zealand; South Pacific Trade Commission in Sydney, Australia and the Pacific Islands Centre in Tokyo, Japan.

For additional information, contact: Ulafala Aiavao at [email protected] 

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