15th intersessional meeting on Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations
- Category: News
- Published: Friday, 15 July 2016 14:32
- Written by Kpress
- Hits: 964
On the 13-17 of June 2016, the 15th Intersessional Meeting on PACER Plus was held in Nadi, Fiji. On this occasion, the FSM joined other Pacific Islands Countries to continue PACER Plus negotiations in line with Pacific Leaders’ mandate to bring the negotiations to a conclusion by the end of 2016.
During this round of negotiations, the discussion on the Development and Economic Cooperation Chapter which covers on assistance to implement the PACER Plus Agreement and assistance for broader trade development was satisfactory concluded pending announcement of financial resources that will be made available by Australia and New Zealand. PACER Plus Work Programme outlines the assistance to be provided by Australia and New Zealand to Pacific Island Countries and comprises of six components (rules of origins and other aspects of implementation of tariff commitments, customs, sanitary and phytosanitary measures, technical regulations, standards and conformity assessment procedures, trade in services, investment).
Some of the activities identified by the FSM for funding under PACER Plus Work Programme include training of stakeholders in rules of origins, upgrading toward the 2017 version of the Harmonized Coding System, capacity building on compliance with international certification rules for tuna exports, investment promotion strategies & capacity building, technical assistance in organic certification, to improve industry compliance with export certification system, and capacity building to improve utilization of seasonal workers schemes available under PACER Plus. During the round of negotiations, the FSM Delegation also had successful bilateral discussions with Australia and New Zealand on its revised Market Access Offers for Trade in Services and its initial offers on Investment. The few remaining issues following the 15th round of negotiations include provisions on infant industry protection, Most Favored Nation, and trade remedies (provisional and bilateral safeguards).
In preparation for the 15th Intersessional Meetings on PACER Plus, the FSM Department of R&D, assisted by Dr. Martin Roy, Senior Policy Advisor at the Office of Chief Trade Advisor, conducted consultations with the Private Sector, relevant National Agencies (FSM Department of R&D, TC&I, Education, Health, Immigration) and sub-regional organizations (Micronesian Shipping Commission ) to ensure that the views of all stakeholders are fully taken into account during the negotiations and that FSM negotiators do not deviate from existing laws and policies. The FSM Department of R&D also organized briefing with FSM Congress Committee on R&D to update the lawmakers on progress in PACER Plus negotiations. Mr. Roy also pay a courtesy call on FSM Vice-President, the Honorable Yosiwo P. George, to brief him on the status of PACER Plus negotiations and outstanding issues in particular the one of interest to the FSM.
The last round of Negotiations is scheduled for mid-August 2016 in Christchurch, New Zealand, and will be followed by a Special Forum Trade Ministers Meeting on PACER Plus. The FSM Department of R&D envisages convening a meeting of the National Trade Facilitation Committee prior to the final round of negotiations.
The FSM was represented by the FSM Department of R&D and Department of Justice (Mrs. Camille Movick-Inatio, Assistant Secretary, Trade and Investment Division; Mr. Adelman Joseph, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Trade; and Mrs. Josephine Joseph, Assistant Attorney General). The FSM team was supported by Mr. Jean Bertrand Azapmo, National Trade Adviser, under the Hub & Spokes Programme II funded by the European Union, the ACP Group, the Commonwealth Secretariat, and la Francophonie.