I join Trade Ministers from the Pacific Islands Forum to announce a significant development in Pacific regional integration – we have concluded negotiations around the treaty text for the Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations (PACER) Plus. We aim to conclude remaining market access negotiations by the end of October, and sign the Agreement by the end of the year.

PACER Plus is unique in that it is both a trade and a development agreement. It will simplify and enhance regional trade and help Pacific Island Forum countries grow their economies by accessing international markets. PACER Plus has the potential to reshape the economic fundamentals of the Pacific region, creating new opportunities for trade and investment that will drive economic growth and raise living standards.

I also announce a joint Australia-New Zealand funded PACER Plus Readiness Package to help Pacific Island Forum countries make the legal changes necessary for implementation and to invest in modern customs and clearance systems necessary to engage in global trade. Australia will contribute up to $4 million over two years to this package.

Australia, New Zealand and Pacific Island Forum countries have a close and important relationship and we remain committed to working together to achieve our shared goal of a stronger, safer and more prosperous region. 

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