MINISTERIAL STATEMENT: FORUM TRADE MINISTERS MEETING

News Release

Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat Suva, Fiji

18 June 2009

Apia, 17 June 2009

Ministers recognised the importance of deepening regional trade integration as a means to create jobs, enhance private sector growth, raise standards of living and advance the region’s sustainable economic development.

Ministers affirm that PACER-Plus provides the Pacific region with a significant opportunity to develop a truly innovative trade and economic agreement that takes account of the different stages of development of each nation.

Ministers stress the importance of progressing PACER- Plus as a means to underpin the economic security of the region through capacity building and market liberalization. Ministers reflected their intention to bolster the capacity of all Forum Island Countries to take advantage of trade opportunities to help their economies grow, and become more resilient to shocks such as the current global economic crisis.

Forum Island Country (FIC) Ministers welcomed and expressed gratitude to Australia and New Zealand for their stated funding contribution for the establishment of the Office of Chief Trade Adviser (OCTA).

Reflecting the strong engagement at Ministerial and Officials levels over the past 12 months, Ministers recommend to our Leaders that PACER- Plus negotiations commence after the conclusion of the Pacific Islands Forum Leaders Meeting in Cairns in August 2009. This decision responds to the direction given by Leaders at Niue in 2008 to agree at the 2009 Forum to the commencement of negotiations.

In particular, Ministers have agreed to the following decisions:

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