Trade Minister Todd McClay says the signing ceremony in Tonga of the landmark PACER Plus trade and development agreement on Wednesday will usher in a new era for closer economic relations in the Pacific.
Mr McClay will be joined at the ceremony by Australia and the Pacific Island countries who are ready to sign up.
“After eight years of negotiation, the opening for signature of PACER Plus allows us to begin implementation of a $55 million development package that will boost exports, lift living standards and create jobs across the Pacific,” Mr McClay says.
“The agreement will create a common set of trading rules covering goods, services and investment in support of economic growth. These rules will reduce tariffs and red tape for New Zealand exporters and investors, which will increase the attractiveness of the region for trade and investment.”
“PACER Plus future-proofs access for New Zealand companies and ensures we will remain competitive should other countries look to do deals in the region.”
“The door remains open for other Pacific Island countries, who aren’t yet in a position to sign and join the agreement.”
Mr McClay will be accompanied on the trip by Hon Annette King, Fletcher Tabuteau and Barry Coates as part of a bipartisan ministerial delegation.
“The signing of PACER Plus will be an opportunity for leaders and ministers from across the Pacific to gather and celebrate a new era for economic integration between our countries,” Mr McClay says.
“In light of its importance to the region, I have invited MPs from Labour, New Zealand First and the Greens to join me in Tonga.”
Note to editors: More information about the Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations Plus (PACER Plus) can be found here: www.mfat.govt.nz/pacer