Former Minister for Trade
Australian Commonwealth Coat of Arms

Joint Media Release

with Hon Anthony Byrne MP, Parliamentary Secretary for Trade

23 October, 2009

Negotiations begin on new Pacific agreement

The first Ministerial negotiations for a new Pacific economic integration and trade agreement will be held today and tomorrow.

Ministers from Pacific Island Forum countries will be joining Minister for Trade, Simon Crean and Parliamentary Secretary for Trade, Anthony Byrne in Brisbane.

“We want to build economic resilience in the Pacific region,” said Mr Crean, who will chair the meeting.

“I look forward to close collaboration with my colleagues to begin this important work.”

“I am convinced that the negotiation of this new agreement - underpinned by trade capacity building and development assistance - will help create jobs, enhance private sector growth, raise standards of living and boost the long-term economic prospects of Forum Island countries.”

“This is why I want to ensure that there is a sense of urgency from the very beginning,” Mr Crean said.

Pacific Island Forum Leaders agreed in Cairns in August to launch the PACER Plus negotiations.
“Our job in Brisbane is to start to deliver on the Forum Leaders’ vision,” said Mr Byrne.

As part of a wider assistance package, Australia is providing A$ 1.5 million over three years toward establishing the Office of the Chief Trade Adviser, which will be providing independent support and advice to Forum Island Countries during the negotiations.

The meeting will conclude on Saturday, October 24.

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