Today in Brisbane the Minister Assisting the Minister for Trade and Investment, Senator the Hon Richard Colbeck, met Trade Ministers and representatives from Pacific nations to discuss the regional Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations (PACER) Plus.

“PACER Plus will provide a long term opportunity to create jobs, enhance private sector growth and raise standards of living in Pacific Island countries including through enhancing regional trade and closer economic integration,” said Minister Colbeck.

“It will reflect our shared history and economic aspirations, and accommodate our various stages of development and relative economic strengths.

“Australia is committed to using its aid investments in the region to strengthen the ability of Pacific countries to trade and to maximise the benefits from the Agreement.

“Closely aligning our platforms for trade facilitates more seamless trade and investment which will drive new jobs and growth to create self-sufficient and sustainable economies.

“I am particularly excited by the potential for the Pacific to greater leverage natural resources – not only marine resources and fisheries but also realising their great tourism potential.”

“Pacer Plus is an extension of the already strong political and community ties we have with Pacific nations,” said Minister Fierravanti-Wells.

“Deepening regional trade ties will help to increase the skills of workers throughout the Pacific, boost economic empowerment and strengthen the stability of Australia’s immediate neighbourhood.”

Trade officials from the Pacific region will continue with negotiations in Brisbane later this week.

“Today I also signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Solomon Islands’ Minister for Foreign Affairs and External Trade, the Honourable Milner Tozaka MP, to update Solomon Islands’ participation in Australia’s Seasonal Worker Programme (SWP),” said Minister Colbeck.

“The SWP is a win-win for Australia and the Pacific. It relieves labour shortages, especially in regional Australia, and contributes to the development of our Pacific Island neighbours through remittances.”

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