The Gillard Government is firmly committed to the Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations — PACER Plus — which is under negotiation by members of the Pacific Island Forum, the Parliamentary Secretary for Trade, Justine Elliot, said today.
Addressing the 2nd Australia Solomon Islands Business Forum in Brisbane, which brought together Australian and Solomon Islands business representatives to explore trade and investment opportunities, Ms Elliot said that the Gillard Government will continue to support further trade liberalisation to support economic development, stability and growth.
“As the global economy continues to recover it is important that we continue to pursue trade liberalisation to provide new sources of global growth,” Ms Elliot said.
PACER Plus represents a new way to approach trade by supporting capacity building.
“PACER Plus will be designed to take the different stages of economic development of Pacific island nations into account.
“Australia has committed more than A$5.8 million to support the participation of Forum Island countries in the ongoing PACER Plus negotiations,” Ms Elliot said.
Negotiations on PACER Plus are progressing on priorities including trade facilitation, development assistance, infrastructure and regional labour mobility.
“The more Pacific island nations are integrated into the global trading system, and the freer the flow of goods, services and investments around the region, the better the opportunity for genuine, long-term economic growth.
“Australia's trade with the Solomon Islands is growing, with two-way trade totalling A$85 million last financial year and businesses on both sides are looking to the new opportunities that freer trade in the Pacific will create,” Ms Elliot said.
Ms Elliot said that Australia will continue to work with Solomon Islands to secure an agreement that provides real, long-lasting benefits for the region.
“Australia remains firmly committed to broader efforts to build a more prosperous and secure economy in the Solomon Islands,” Ms Elliot said.
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