PACER Plus is a landmark trade and development agreement that will lower barriers and provide greater certainty for New Zealand businesses, while raising living standards, creating jobs and increasing exports in Pacific Island countries.
PACER Plus builds on existing trade agreements: the South Pacific Regional Trade and Economic Cooperation Agreement (SPARTECA) (1980) and the original PACER Agreement (2001).
There are currently eleven signatories (Australia, Cook Islands, Kiribati, Nauru, New Zealand, Niue, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu), who in addition to signing PACER Plus, signed an accompanying Labour Mobility Arrangement.
Pacific Island countries are our nearest neighbours and, with almost 296,000 Pacific peoples living in New Zealand, we share strong personal ties. New Zealand has a clear interest in a prosperous and sustainable region and our main objective for PACER Plus is to encourage economic development in Pacific countries.
Opportunities for economic development in Pacific Island countries are limited because of their small size and the difficulty achieving the economies of scale needed to compete in international markets. PACER Plus should help create jobs and wealth in the Pacific by making it easier for these countries to trade.
The intended benefits of PACER Plus are:
- a more predictable trading environment
- more consistent and transparent rules throughout the region on sanitary and phytosanitary measures, technical barriers to trade, and customs procedures
- more liberal and product-specific rules of origin
- increased investment in the region, in particular by New Zealand and Australian investors into Pacific Island countries
- greater certainty around tariffs for exporters
- more opportunities for trade-related development assistance for Pacific Island countries
- a more mobile labour force in the region.
The following factsheets summarise the contents of the agreement.
Overview: Purpose and benefits [PDF, 1 MB]
Development and economic cooperation [PDF, 1.3 MB]
Labour mobility [PDF, 646 KB]
Legal and Institutional Chapters [PDF, 801 KB]
Pasifika New Zealand [PDF, 1.6 MB]
Te Moana-nui-ā-Kiwa and Māori development [PDF, 333 KB]
Trade in goods, Rules of Origin and customs [PDF, 1 MB]
Services, investment and visa access for business people [PDF, 801 KB]
Negotiations started: In August 2009 Pacific Islands Forum Leaders agreed to commence PACER Plus negotiations.
Status: Negotiations concluded on 20 April 2017. Following signature, the Agreement will enter into force 60 days after eight negotiating parties have notified the Depositary (Government of Tonga) that they have completed their internal requirements.
Current priority - ratification
New Zealand and other signatories are currently focused on progressing towards ratification of PACER Plus to allow entry into force hopefully in 2019.
Changes to legislation
Whilst most of the obligations in PACER Plus would be met by New Zealand's existing domestic legal and policy, some legislative amendments are required.
These are related to amendments to the Tariff Act 1988 to enable the application of preferential tariff rates under PACER Plus and amending the rules on "goods re-entered after repair or alteration" in Tariff. The Tariff (PACER Plus) Amendment Bill has now passed through the House and the required regulations are under development.
You may wish to acces information through the Parliament website (Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Select Committee) attend one of our public engagements on trade or contact us directly.
To find out more about our public engagements on trade (including the current 'Trade for All' consultation) please see this link Public engagements on trade
Here is some coverage (external link) of an event on PACER Plus hosted by our Pacific Connections unit in Auckland on 13 September 2018.
We are happy to arrange meetings with stakeholders and Iwi/Māori organisations to discuss how PACER Plus may affect you, your business or your communities.
Submissions or requests for information can be sent to:
The National Interest Analysis assess PACER Plus from the perspectie of its impact on New Zealand and New Zealanders.
National Interest Analysis [PDF, 1.4 MB]
New Zealand-Australia side letter [PDF, 210 KB]
Australia-New Zealand side letter [PDF, 72 KB]