Australia has renewed its commitment to greater trade and economic integration in the Pacific as negotiations for the Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations (PACER) Plus trade agreement are held this week in Auckland.
Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop and Trade and Investment Minister Andrew Robb said that the Government would provide $1.8 million over three years to the Office of the Chief Trade Adviser (OCTA) to help Pacific Forum Island Countries progress the PACER Plus negotiations with Australia and New Zealand.
"The increased funding will help the OCTA to continue to provide independent advice and assistance to Pacific Island countries participating in the PACER Plus negotiations," Ms Bishop said.
"This demonstrates the Australian Government's strong commitment to greater economic prosperity in the Pacific.
"PACER Plus presents an opportunity to encourage Pacific nations to become more integrated. The freer the flow of goods, services, investments and people, the better the prospects for long-term economic growth in Pacific communities," she said.
Mr Robb said that Australia welcomed the substantial progress achieved to date in the PACER Plus negotiations, particularly over the last 18 months.
"We also look forward to progressing the negotiations in accord with the roadmap adopted by Pacific Islands Forum Ministers in July," he said.
As part of a wider assistance package, Australia has also funded independent trade research into PACER Plus and training for the trade officials from the Pacific Island countries participating in the negotiations.
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