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Pacific Trade Ministers to focus on economic development

Pacific Trade Ministers to focus on economic development

Parliamentary Secretary for Pacific Island Affairs, Richard Marles, will represent Australia at the 2011 Pacific Islands Forum Trade Ministers’ Meeting in Tonga on 18-19 May.

Ministers at the Meeting will consider a number of regional trade issues, including progress in the regional negotiations for a new trade and economic agreement with Australia and New Zealand, known as PACER Plus.

Mr Marles said: “Australia’s primary objective in the PACER Plus negotiations is to promote the sustainable economic development of Pacific Island countries through regional trade and economic integration.”

Australia has committed substantial development assistance to regional trade issues, including funding for independent trade research for each Forum Island country and an Office of the Chief Trade Adviser to assist Forum Island countries in negotiations.

Forum Trade Ministers will also consider the development of a new regional aid-for-trade strategy, new efforts to promote Pacific exports and investment, and the work of the Pacific Islands Forum WTO office in Geneva.

“I’m looking forward to discussing these issues with Forum Trade Ministers, and thank the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat and Tongan Government for the arrangements they have put in place for the Meeting,” Mr Marles said.

18 May 2011

ENDS

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