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Funding to help Pacific free-trade deal

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 26/08/2016

New Zealand Minister of Trade Todd McClay. © Fiona Goodall/Getty Images New Zealand Minister of Trade Todd McClay. Trade Minister Todd McClay reports progress at free-trade talks for the Pacific and funding to help it along from Australia and New Zealand.

He hosted trade ministers and senior representatives from 16 Pacific countries at talks for the Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations Plus' (PACER Plus) agreement in Christchurch on Friday.

The legal text of the agreement was agreed and ministers agreed to conclude remaining market access negotiations by the end of October and sign the agreement by the end of this year, Mr McClay said.

At the meeting New Zealand and Australia announced a joint funding package worth $A7.7 million ($NZ8.0 million) to help Pacific Island countries benefit from the deal.

The money will help with their domestic ratification processes and it will be available after signature and prior to the entry into force of the agreement. It includes customs, revenue, and legislative support.

"This agreement is of significant importance to the economic prosperity and sustainability of a region that faces a number of unique challenges participating in international trade," Mr McClay said.

New Zealand, Australia, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Republic of Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu, were to be represented at the meeting.

Talks started in August 2009. They included negotiations over sanitary and phytosanitary measures, technical barriers to trade, customs procedures, rules of origin, trade in goods, trade in services, investment, economic and development co-operation, and labour mobility.

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