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.
PACER Plus includes an implementing arrangement [PDF, 398 KB] to support Pacific countries to build their capacity to trade and attract investment, so that they can take full advantage of the opportunities that PACER Plus offers.
PACER Plus Readiness Package
Australia and New Zealand pledged a combined AU$7.7 million to support Pacific Island country signatories to ratify the agreement.
This Readiness Package included technical assistance for:
- legislative review
- updating and harmonising customs systems and tariff codes at the border
- training on transparency and notification requirements under the agreement
- training the private sector on the new, simplified rules of origin
- communications and stakeholder outreach
- planning and mitigating revenue loss from tariff reductions.
An example of an initiative is:
- Establishing a group of Pacific Rules of Origin trainers. This group from PACER Plus countries provides training to Pacific officials and businesses, so they can understand and take advantage of trade liberalisation opportunities in the agreement.
Development and Economic Cooperation Work Programme
Australia and New Zealand jointly committed AU$25.5 million for a five-year work programme from when PACER Plus entered into force (December 2020). The work programme will support Pacific Island countries to:
- modernise their customs and clearance systems
- reduce biosecurity risks
- meet technical regulations and standards of foreign markets
- promote Pacific exports internationally; and
- attract investment into local enterprises.
Work programme priorities and funding are agreed by a PACER Plus Joint Committee which is made up of representatives from all parties. Operational aspects of the work programme are managed through the PACER Plus implementation unit.
Pacific Aid for Trade
New Zealand has also committed to invest at least 20 percent of its total Official Development Assistance (ODA) to aid for trade activities in the Pacific. This is also a five-year commitment from the date of entry into force. Examples of initiatives include:
- Enhanced Pacific Biosecurity and Market Access Partnership – which involves New Zealand partnering with the Pacific National Plant Protection Organisation to establish robust biosecurity export and import systems. This partnership aims to lift the Pacific’s capability to respond effectively to pest incursions and assist targeted Pacific Island countries to export agricultural products to New Zealand.
- ASYCUDA World – an online customs border management and trade facilitation system. This system will enable streamlined online customs services, reduced border transaction costs, improved revenue collection for governments and more reliable trade statistics.
In 2021, Aotearoa New Zealand announced an investment fund to support COVID-19 recovery in the Pacific. InvestPacific (external link)is a New Zealand based investment fund for the Pacific. It seeks to strengthen Pacific resilience through mid-sized investments that generate inclusive employment and sustainable development. The fund will partner with Pacific stakeholders to ensure investments generate real benefits for their communities.