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EU, PIFS Sign Agreement To Boost Trade

To improve the trade capacity of Pacific countries, the Pacific Island Forum Secretariat (PIFS) and the European Union (EU) have signed a project titled “Strengthening Pacific Intra-Regional and International Trade (SPIRIT)”. The project is set to cost EUR 5.75 million.

Aimed at increasing and boosting intra-regional and international trade through strengthening institutional and technical capacity in the region, the project facilitates the implementation of trade agreements, especially the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) and of the Pacific’s Aid-for-Trade Strategy 2020-2025.

SPIRIT also contributes to the development of a statistical monitoring framework that leads to greater economic integration.

In her remarks, Pacific Islands Forum Secretary-General, Dame Meg Taylor said, “The implementation of SPIRIT will ease trade challenges faced by the Pacific ACP countries and focus on creating opportunities to trade regionally and internationally. Most importantly, it will strengthen the capacities of trade departments in the region through the provision of a technical position at the sub-regional level in each of the three sub-regions in the Pacific.”

To further boost this trade agreement and improve the implementation of these policies, three long-term trade advisers will be deployed in the sub-regions of Melanesia (which includes Timor-Leste), Polynesia, and Micronesia. They are also responsible for capacity-building and training measures to the Pacific countries.

The Ambassador of the European Union for the Pacific, Sujiro Seam said, “The European Union is not only a development partner for the Pacific, it is also the best success story of regional trade and economic integration following the Second World War. With a market of 500 million consumers, the European Union is a business partner for the Pacific. This SPIRIT project comes at the right time, to alleviate the catastrophic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Pacific economies, build value and growth in the region and take advantage of the business opportunities offered in the European market.”

The countries that benefit from this agreement are the following: Palau, Republic of Marshall Islands (RMI), Cook Islands, Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea, Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Fiji, Timor-Leste, Niue, Vanuatu, Tonga, and Samoa.

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