Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations

PACER Plus market snapshot

  • GDP: US$1.7 trillion (2013)
  • Population: 37.5 million (2013)
  • Trade with Australia: AU$21.31 billion (2013)

About the PACER Plus negotiations

The Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations (PACER) Plus negotiations offer an opportunity to help Pacific Islands Forum countries benefit from enhanced regional trade and economic integration. Pacific Islands Forum Leaders launched negotiations on PACER Plus at their fortieth meeting in August 2009.

Participants in the PACER Plus negotiations are:

  • Australia
  • Cook Islands
  • Federated States of Micronesia
  • Fiji
  • Kiribati
  • Nauru
  • New Zealand
  • Niue
  • Palau
  • Papua New Guinea
  • Republic of Marshall Islands
  • Samoa
  • Solomon Islands
  • Tonga
  • Tuvalu
  • Vanuatu

Australia's approach to the PACER Plus negotiations is different to that taken in traditional free trade agreement negotiations. Australia's primary objective is to promote the economic development of Forum Island Countries through greater regional trade and economic integration.

Australia is conscious of the negotiating capacity constraints faced by Forum Island Countries and has committed to providing Forum Island Countries with appropriate capacity building and support. Australia, for instance, has already provided substantial funds for Forum Island Countries to commission independent research on PACER Plus and for training of Forum Island Country trade officials to strengthen their capacity in respect of the PACER Plus negotiations. Australia has provided funding for officials from Forum Island Countries to attend PACER Plus meetings and is also helping to fund the Office of the Chief Trade Adviser which provides independent support and advice to Forum Island Countries on PACER Plus matters.

Key interests and benefits

  • A new regional trade and economic agreement provides the long-term opportunity to create jobs, enhance private sector growth, raise standards of living, and boost economic growth in Forum Island Countries.
  • Negotiations will include elements of trade capacity-building and trade development assistance designed to strengthen Forum Island Countries' ability to trade.

Map of participants in the PACER Plus negotiations - quick facts

Map of participants in the PACER Plus negotiations

Goods

Australia imported $10.71 billion worth of goods from Forum Island Countries in 2013, including gold, crude petroleum, silver/platinum, clothing and coffee.

Investment

Australia and New Zealand are also important sources of foreign direct investment in Forum Island Countries.

Merchandise trade

Australia's total merchandise trade with Forum Island Countries was worth $21.31 billion in 2013.

Services

Services, including tourism, account for an increasing proportion trade between Australia and Forum Island countries.

News

October 2014 update on the Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations (PACER) Plus negotiations

Fiji has accepted the May 2014 Pacific Islands Forum Leaders' invitation to participate in the PACER Plus negotiations. Fiji officials participated in a PACER Plus negotiating session held in Wellington in late September/early October 2014.

The fourth Non-State Actor Dialogue on PACER Plus will be held in the week commencing 8 December in Fiji. Further arrangements for the Dialogue will be made available at a later date.

May 2014 update on the Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations (PACER) Plus negotiations

The Pacific Islands Forum Trade Ministers’ meeting, held in Kiribati on 28 May 2014, took a number of decisions relating to the PACER Plus negotiations.

Forum Trade Ministers welcomed the good progress achieved in the negotiations since July 2013 and agreed that the next inter-sessional negotiating session would be held from 10-12 June in Australia. Ministers directed officials to intensify their engagement with the view to concluding the negotiations on the legal texts by December 2014.  Ministers agreed that the next Non State Actor Dialogue on PACER Plus would be convened later in 2014.

More information can be found on: 2014 Forum Trade Ministers' meeting outcomes.

May 2014 update on the Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations (PACER) Plus negotiations

On 5 May Pacific Islands Forum Leaders considered the 15 February Ministerial Contact Group recommendation that Fiji be invited to participate in PACER Plus negotiations and Forum Trade Ministers' meetings.  Leaders welcomed Fiji’s participation in PACER Plus negotiations at both official and ministerial levels, as well as in relevant Forum Trade Ministers’ meetings at ministerial level.  Furthermore, Leaders tasked the Forum Secretariat to issue invitations to Fiji to participate.

February 2014 update on the Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations (PACER) Plus negotiations

The Pacific Islands Forum Ministerial Contact Group released a statement on 15 February 2014 with a recommendation that Pacific Islands Forum Leaders agree to invite Fiji to participate in PACER Plus negotiations and Forum Trade Ministers' Meetings at ministerial level.

More information: Pacific Islands Forum Ministerial Contact Group Outcomes Statement

December 2013 update on the Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations (PACER) Plus negotiations

Consistent with guidance provided by Pacific Islands Forum Trade Ministers in July 2013, the PACER Plus negotiations have expanded to include a wider range of issues.

December 2013 update

November 2013 update on the Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations (PACER) Plus negotiations

The Third Non-State Actors (NSAs) Dialogue on PACER Plus will be held on Friday, 29 November 2013 at the Stamford Plaza in Auckland, New Zealand.

November 2013 update

September 2013 update on the Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations (PACER) Plus negotiations

At the 44th Pacific Islands Forum, held in the Republic of the Marshall Islands from 3 to 5 September 2013, Leaders directed trade officials to actively build on the substantial progress made in the PACER Plus negotiations as directed by Forum Trade Ministers in July 2013.

September 2013 update

July 2013 update on the Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations (PACER) Plus negotiations

The Pacific Islands Forum Trade Ministers’ meeting, held in Samoa on 19 July 2013, took a number of decisions relating to the PACER Plus negotiations.

July 2013 update

December 2012 update on the Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations (PACER) Plus negotiations

Consistent with the guidance provided by Pacific Islands Forum Trade Ministers in May 2012, two inter-sessional meetings have been held in Port Vila.

December 2012 update

September 2012 update on the Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations (PACER) Plus negotiations

At the 43rd Pacific Islands Forum, held in Cook Islands from 28 to 30 August 2012, Leaders noted the recent positive developments in progressing the PACER Plus negotiations. Leaders also supported increased engagement by Forum Island countries to make rapid progress on priority trade issues in the PACER Plus negotiations.

More information can be found on 43rd Pacific Islands Forum Communiqué

May 2012 update on the Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations (PACER) Plus negotiations

The Pacific Islands Forum Trade Ministers’ meeting, held in the Republic of Marshall Islands on 11 May 2012, took a number of decisions relating to the PACER Plus negotiations.

May 2012 update

December 2011 update on the Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations (PACER) Plus negotiations

A PACER Plus Non State Actor Dialogue is scheduled to be held on 26 March 2012 in Brisbane, Australia. The fourth PACER Plus officials’ meeting is scheduled for 27-29 March 2012 in Brisbane, Australia. The main issues to be discussed at the officials’ meeting are labour mobility, rules of origin and customs procedures.

September 2011 update on the Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations (PACER) Plus negotiations

Forum Island countries have requested that the next meetings of PACER Plus officials and non-state actors be held after February 2012. Dates and arrangements for these meetings will be established after further consultations.

May 2011 update on the Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations (PACER) Plus negotiations

The Pacific Islands Forum Trade Ministers' Meeting, held in Tonga on 18-19 May 2011, took a number of decisions relating to the PACER Plus negotiations.

May 2011 update

April 2011 update on the Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations (PACER) Plus negotiations

A meeting of PACER Plus trade officials was held in Palau on 14-15 March 2011. In addition to Pacific Islands Forum member countries' trade officials, participants in the meeting included representatives from the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, Oceania Customs Organisation and Office of Chief Trade Adviser.

April 2011 update

November 2010 update on the Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations (PACER) Plus negotiations

At their meeting in August 2010, Pacific Islands Forum Leaders welcomed progress made on PACER Plus negotiations. Leaders also agreed to refer the issue of participation of Fiji in the PACER Plus negotiations to the Ministerial Contact Group on Fiji for further consideration. Leaders further agreed for the Ministerial Contact Group to consider possible modalities for engaging Fiji in PACER Plus negotiations and to circulate their findings to Leaders for consideration before the next Forum.

November 2010 update

April 2010 update on the Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations (PACER) Plus negotiations

A meeting of PACER Plus trade officials was held in Vanuatu on 14 and 15 April 2010. In addition to Pacific Islands Forum member countries' officials, participants in the meeting included the Chief Trade Adviser and representatives of the Oceania Customs Organisation. Participants in the meeting discussed the priority negotiating issues previously agreed by Forum Trade Ministers in October 2009, namely: rules of origin, trade facilitation, development assistance and regional labour mobility. Participants also received an update on the establishment of the Office of the Chief Trade Adviser, which officially commenced operations in Port Vila on 29 March 2010.

April 2010 update

Submissions

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade continues to welcome public submissions and comments on Australia's participation in PACER Plus negotiations.

Submissions will be published on the DFAT website, unless notified otherwise. Please indicate if you do not want your submission to be made publicly available. Submissions may be made by email, post or fax:

  • Email: PACERPlus@dfat.gov.au
  • Mail:
    PACER Plus Section
    Pacific Division
    Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
    R G Casey Building
    John McEwen Crescent
    Barton ACT 0221
  • Fax: 02 6261 2661

Copyright and content

Copyright in submissions resides with the author(s), not with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

The views expressed in these submissions are the views of the author(s) and should not be understood as reflecting the views of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Submissions received

Submissions have been received from a wide range of interested parties including industry, business, community and labour representatives and government agencies. The following persons and organisations have provided non-confidential submissions and comments:

A summary of views expressed in public consultations was tabled in Parliament on 18 August.

For business

Doing business in the Pacific

Pacific Trade and Investment works with exporters in the Pacific Islands to successfully promote their products and services, including tourism as well as attract investment into the Pacific Island Countries.

Austrade has identified potential opportunities for Australian suppliers of goods and services in a number of sectors. Austrade's country page supplies general information on doing business and on specific export opportunities in:

The Austrade website has a database that can be searched by industry.

Resources

Media releases and speeches since August 2009

Contact us

  • Email: PACERPlus@dfat.gov.au
  • Fax: 02 6261 2661
  • Mail:
    PACER Plus Section
    Pacific Division
    Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
    R G Casey Building
    John McEwen Crescent
    Barton ACT 0221