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Aid for Trade consultations underway in the Pacific

Aid for Trade consultations underway in the Pacific

2nd April 2013

National consultations on Aid for Trade are currently underway in the Pacific.

The Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat with support from the European Union funded Pacific Integration Technical Assistance Programme (PITAP) has commissioned a project to assist the Pacific ACP States to identify and prioritise their Aid for Trade needs.

Aid for Trade is development assistance designed to assist Pacific ACP States to improve their ability to participate in global trade by addressing the trade-related challenges that they face.

Trade-related challenges may include modernising customs systems, meeting rules of origin requirements, addressing sanitary and phytosanitary issues, improving trade related infrastructure such as port facilities and resolving technical barriers to trade.

“The objective of this extensive exercise is to identify the gaps in Aid for Trade in Pacific ACP States, assist countries improve coordination, and mobilise additional resources to address trade and development needs,” explained the Pacific Islands Forum Secretary General, Tuiloma Neroni Slade.

The Secretary General added that the consultations would also identify and quantify the assistance that Pacific ACP States are already receiving on Aid for Trade from each development partner at national, sub-regional and regional levels, as well as the financing mechanisms in place.

“The reason for seeking this information is to ensure that there is no duplication of projects or programmes and also to identify gaps in Aid for Trade requiring support.”

This initiative will result in the formulation of a consolidated Aid for Trade matrix that takes into account the implementation needs arising from the obligations contained in economic development and trade agreements that Pacific ACP States are negotiating and/or are parties to.

These agreements include the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), the Pacific Island Countries Trade Agreement (PICTA), the PICTA Trade in Services Protocol, the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) Trade Agreement and the Micronesian Trade Committee (MTC) Trade Arrangement.

Consultations are being carried out in Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu. Timor Leste will also be consulted regarding its Aid for Trade needs.

The team, comprising Forum Secretariat senior staff and consultants, are consulting with relevant Pacific ACP States’ government departments and agencies responsible for trade, finance, taxation, customs, planning, fisheries, forestry, agriculture, maritime, labour, education and health.

Regional and international agencies, and development partners that are actively involved in Aid for Trade related activities in the Pacific are also being consulted.

“These consultations on Aid for Trade are inclusive and we intend to develop a comprehensive picture of the Aid for Trade needs of the Pacific island countries as we progress the renew and refresh exercise of the Pacific Aid for Trade Strategy,” the Secretary General stated.

Consultations will also include stakeholders in the private sector, such as chambers of commerce, employers’ representatives, banks, and civil society in order to obtain a broad cross-section of national views.

A revised Pacific Aid for Trade Strategy is expected to be finalised later in the year.

ENDS

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