The Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations (PACER) Plus is a free trade agreement between Australia, New Zealand, and 13 Pacific Island countries. The negotiations for PACER Plus began in 2009 and were concluded in 2017, with the agreement signed in June of that year.
PACER Plus aims to promote economic development in the Pacific region by reducing barriers to trade and investment. It covers a range of areas, including goods, services, investment, and development assistance.
One of the key features of PACER Plus is the elimination of tariffs on exports from Pacific Island countries to Australia and New Zealand. This means that Pacific Island exporters will be able to access these markets more easily and at a lower cost, which should help to promote economic growth and development in the region.
PACER Plus also includes provisions for the liberalization of services trade, including professional services, tourism, and education. This should help to increase competition and improve the quality and availability of services in the region.
In addition, the agreement includes a development assistance package that is designed to support the implementation of reforms and capacity-building measures in Pacific Island countries. This assistance will help to ensure that the benefits of the agreement are felt by all countries in the region.
There has been some controversy surrounding the PACER Plus agreement, with some critics arguing that it may have negative impacts on local industries in Pacific Island countries. However, supporters of the agreement argue that it will provide significant benefits for the region, including increased trade and investment opportunities and improved economic development outcomes.
Overall, the PACER Plus agreement represents an important step forward for economic integration in the Pacific region. By reducing barriers to trade and investment, and providing support for development and capacity-building measures, it has the potential to deliver significant benefits for Pacific Island countries and their people.