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April 2010 update on the Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations (PACER) Plus negotiations

A meeting of PACER Plus trade officials was held in Vanuatu on 14 and 15 April 2010. In addition to Pacific Islands Forum member countries' officials, participants in the meeting included the Chief Trade Adviser and representatives of the Oceania Customs Organisation. Participants in the meeting discussed the priority negotiating issues previously agreed by Forum Trade Ministers in October 2009, namely: rules of origin, trade facilitation, development assistance and regional labour mobility. Participants also received an update on the establishment of the Office of the Chief Trade Adviser, which officially commenced operations in Port Vila on 29 March 2010.

At their annual meeting in Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia, on 29 April 2010, Forum Trade Ministers adopted a number of decisions relating to the PACER Plus negotiations. Ministers received an update on the PACER Plus Officials' Meeting held in Port Vila, Vanuatu, from 14-15 April 2010. Ministers noted the progress made towards the establishment of the Office of the Chief Trade Adviser, including that the Chief Trade Adviser had taken up his position in Port Vila in late March. Ministers thanked Australia for offering to support a Rules of Origin and Customs Procedures Workshop on PACER Plus, and agreed that the Workshop take place in the week commencing 30 August 2010. They also thanked Solomon Islands for agreeing to host a PACER Plus Officials' Meeting in October 2010 and agreed to add shipping, aviation, telecommunications and water infrastructure to the list of priority negotiating issues.

At their meeting in Pohnpei, Trade Ministers further agreed that the Forum Secretariat will organise an annual discussion with non-state actors on PACER Plus matters in the margins of a forthcoming Forum trade meeting. Ministers reaffirmed that, in accordance with the 2009 decisions of Leaders, future briefing and liaison on PACER Plus with Fiji Officials would be undertaken by the Chief Trade Adviser, who would report any views from Fiji back at subsequent meetings of Trade Ministers.

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