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Heads of Investment Promotion Agencies (IPAs) from 12 Forum Island Countries have ended a meeting in Sydney, Australia to discuss issues relating to investment in the region.

They shared experiences and discussed the importance of having an investor-friendly environment to support the development of FICs.

Representatives from various institutions included the Foreign Investment Advisory Service (FIAS), Asian Development Bank (ADB), Commonwealth Secretariat, South Pacific Project Facility, South Pacific Tourism Organisation, Joint Commercial Commission of the Pacific Islands Development Program, EU/ACP Business Assistance Scheme, AusAID, Invest Australia and the Australia/Pacific Islands Business Council.

The Heads of IPAs agreed that administrative barriers remain a key obstacle to investment and much work needs to be done in this area.

The IPAs supported the regional project proposed by FIAS and ADB, which is aimed at developing a "tool kit" to address administrative barriers to investment. They also pledged to work with FIAS and ADB to effectively implement the project.

The meeting agreed to raise awareness of the importance of foreign direct investment to national development through workshops and seminars. They stressed the importance of developing partnerships with relevant Government departments to increase cooperation and help to remove administrative barriers to investment.

To strengthen their partnership with existing and potential investors, the Heads of IPAs agreed to take a more proactive role with the private sector, especially on policy issues that affect them. This is aimed at improving the communication between Government and the private sector.

IPAs will continue to disseminate information to the private sector and the wider community regarding technical and financial assistance available from various international institutions. This is aimed at further supporting private sector development at various levels of the community.

The meeting recognized that Information Technology enables more effective investment promotion, by reducing costs and providing access to potential investors on a global level. IPAs agreed to develop and maintain up to date websites and explore the greater use of sub-contracting and remote hosting, to further reduce costs.

To ensure more effective promotional activities, the Heads of IPAs recognized the importance of performance indicators, the results of which would be used to secure support from central Government agencies.

On technical capacity building, the Heads of IPAs agreed to maintain up-skilling programs to enhance productivity and to maximize opportunities available through regional institutions and support programs.

The meeting was attended by representatives from Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.

For additional information, contact: Ulafala Aiavao at 

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