The Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations Plus (PACER Plus) enters into force today bringing more opportunities for Australian farmers and forging greater shared regional prosperity.
Agriculture Minister David Littleproud said PACER Plus was an important part of our broader engagement in the Pacific and provided an avenue to help foster a secure and stable region.
“PACER Plus enters into force for Australia, Cook Islands, Kiribati, New Zealand, Niue, Samoa, Solomon Islands and Tonga,” Minister Littleproud said.
“It also remains open to accession by Nauru, Tuvalu and Vanuatu which have signed but not ratified, and likewise to other Pacific Island countries such as Fiji and Papua New Guinea which are yet to sign the agreement.
“The agreement covers a variety of measures including biosecurity, investment and trade in goods and services.
“The agreement will helpour Pacific Island neighbours by supporting them to become more active partners in regional and global trade.
“For Australian farmers, PACER Plus will open up market access, albeit to small markets, for our meat, dairy, grains, oilseeds, sugar, animal feed and processed food exports once fully implemented.
“Tariff reductions will also create more opportunities such as beef and dairy exports to Samoa and wheat, animal feed and dairy to Solomon Islands.
“Another key outcome of the PACER Plus negotiations, but separate to the agreement, was the non-binding Labour Mobility Arrangement agreed by Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Island countries.
“The arrangement establishes a regional framework to enhance and promote labour mobility cooperation, including mobility for unskilled and semi-skilled labour, and enhances the potential benefits for both Pacific Island countries and Australian businesses.”
Minister Littleproud said PACER Plus would support and complement the department’s work in relation to existing measures such as the Pacific Horticultural and Agricultural Market Access (PHAMA Plus) program.
“With PACER Plus coming into effect, PHAMA Plus will expand its scope to include small island state participants to increase the quantity and quality of their agricultural exports.”
- Australia exported $14.6 million in chicken meat, $11.6m in lamb and $7.4 million in wheat to Pacific Island Countries in 2019-20 (excluding New Zealand).
- On entry into force, Australia and New Zealand will provide development assistance over five years for the PACER Plus Implementation Package.
- This funding will be administered through an independent PACER Plus Implementation Unit and will focus on assisting parties implement their obligations under the agreement.