Minister for Trade Richard Marles and Parliamentary Secretary for Pacific Island Affairs Senator Matt Thistlethwaite, have welcomed outcomes from the 2013 Pacific Islands Forum Trade Ministers Meeting, held in Apia today.
The Forum Trade Ministers' Meeting in Samoa took decisions on a range of important regional activities to increase the capacity of Pacific Island countries' economies to benefit from trade and investment opportunities.
Ministers welcomed the achievements of the Pacific Islands Trade and Invest network and advanced the development of a regional trademarks system.
"Trade and investment are making an increasingly significant contribution to economic growth in the Pacific," Mr Marles said.
The Trade Ministers welcomed progress that has been made in the negotiations for PACER Plus, a new regional trade and economic agreement.
"PACER Plus is a significant long-term opportunity to create jobs, enhance private sector growth and raise living standards in Pacific Island countries," Senator Thistlethwaite said.
"I support the decision by Forum Trade Ministers to adopt a roadmap to guide the future PACER Plus negotiations."
The officials' negotiating sessions and workshops held to date in the PACER Plus negotiations have made progress on the agreed priority issues of: rules of origin; trade facilitation (customs procedures, sanitary and phytosanitary measures, and technical regulations, standards and conformity assessment procedures); regional labour mobility; and development assistance.
Initial discussions on additional issues, including trade in services and investment, have also taken place. The most recent PACER Plus negotiating session was held in April 2013 in Port Vila and the next negotiating session is scheduled for mid-August 2013.
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