Development and Economic Cooperation

Supporting Pacific partners to strengthen their trading capacity and attract investment.

Pacific Island countries face unique challenges participating in international trade, including their small size, difficulty achieving economies of scale, distance from markets, high cost of infrastructure, and vulnerability to extreme climatic events.

As part of the Implementing Arrangement for Development and Economic Cooperation Under the Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations Plus [PDF, 398 KB], New Zealand supports Pacific countries to build their capacity to trade and attract investment. This helps these countries take full advantage of the opportunities that PACER Plus offers.

New Zealand achieves this support through the PACER Plus Development and Economic Cooperation Work Programme implemented by the PACER Plus Implementation Unit (PPIU), and a range of Pacific Aid for Trade initiatives. The achievements of these initiatives are outlined below.  

Achievements under PACER Plus: December 2021–November 2023

Improvements in the Efficiency of Customs Clearance Times: Exporters and importers are benefitting from streamlined goods processing systems. Following the roll out of ASYCUDA Automated Goods Processing system, average customs clearance times have reduced from 11 days to two days in Tuvalu, and from three days to three hours in Kiribati.

Customs Revenue increases: The roll out of ASYCUDA has also supported more effective revenue collection mechanisms at borders for the years following implementation of the system. This includes Tuvalu, which enjoyed a 20% increase, in addition to Kiribati (7%), Tonga (11%), and the Cook Islands (5%).

Growth in delivery of intra-regional services between Pacific Island countries: PACER Plus Movement of Natural Persons obligations are opening opportunities for intra-regional labour mobility and enhanced opportunities to deliver services. For example, Solomon Islands health workers can now fill labour shortages in Niue and the Kiribati Insurance Corporation is providing training services to Tuvalu.

More Pacific exporters have been able to meet New Zealand (and Australian) Sanitary and Phyto-Sanitary and Technical Regulations, Standards and Conformity Assessment Procedures: The Development Cooperation Programme has supported Niue Honey and Soltuna to use labelling and meet standards in New Zealand and Australia. The PPIU has also developed awareness materials for sea container hygiene systems.

Pacific businesses are benefitting from zero tariff rates into Australia and New Zealand and liberalised Rules of Origin: Kiribati boat builder Kiricraft utilises PACER Plus Rules of Origin to import timber from New Zealand and sells its luxury boats into Australia tariff-free – keeping it competitive with other companies in the market.

Reduced post-harvest losses: PPIU had supplied vegetable crates to farmers on the Cook Islands outer islands as well as Samoa, Niue, Tonga and Tuvalu. This has led to a significant reduction in post-harvest damage, ranging from 15% to 50% fewer damaged crops.

Clear and transparent information for traders: PACER Plus has improved supported access into export markets though the establishment of online national Trade Information Portals, which provide current procedural and regulatory trade information for exporters and importers.

Business development: The PPIU is working with the Cook Islands to develop an E-commerce Acceleration Plan and has undertaken an E-commerce Payments Option Analysis for Tuvalu. These will support better integration and ability to trade in the global economy. In Tonga, Samoa and Tuvalu, the PPIU has delivered Post COVID-19 Tourism Sector Development including courses in culinary skills and customer service to help kick-start tourist industries.

Increased Labour mobility opportunities for Pacific workers: This has been achieved through identification of new labour mobility opportunities and promoting the adoption of these opportunities by Pacific countries. One example is scoping work that clarified the extent of labour shortages in Niue and Cook Islands and the priority labour needs for each country. Findings from the visit will inform the development of the long-term intra-Pacific strategy to address labour shortages in these countries.


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