Parliamentary Secretary for Pacific Island Affairs, Richard Marles,
welcomed the outcomes of the 2011 Pacific Islands Forum Trade Ministers'
Meeting in Tonga on 18-19 May.
Ministers agreed on a range of regional trade issues that will enhance
Forum Island countries' economies, including taking decisions on next
steps on PACER Plus negotiations.
Mr Marles said: "Ministers have agreed on the importance of progressing
PACER Plus. Officials should in the first instance intensify work on
customs procedures, rules of origin and labour mobility at the next
Ministers agreed that the next meeting of PACER Plus officials be held
before the end of 2011 and have accepted an offer by Australia to host
the next meeting.
Ministers noted the decision of Trade Ministers in 2010 to establish the
Office of the Chief Trade Adviser (OCTA) to assist Forum Island
Countries on PACER Plus. Funding arrangements between development
partners and OCTA should not compromise the independence and integrity
of OCTA operations and activities.
On WTO issues Mr Marles said: "Australia strongly supports Forum Island
countries' engagement with the WTO. The Government will contribute
funding to the Forum WTO Office in Geneva".
Australia also strongly supports the finalisation of the text of a
Memorandum of Understanding on a Regional Trademark Application System.
This will allow trademark applicants to seek regional registration in
all participating Forum Island countries.
- Parliamentary Secretary's Office: (02) 6277 4330
- Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Media Liaison: (02) 6261 1555
- AusAID Media: 0417 680 590