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The value of the Pacific agreement is controversial.   Fiji and Papua New Guinea, the two largest pacific island economies, have refused to join the Union, significantly undermining the value of the Pacific Agreement.   The removal of tariffs on imports of Australian and New Zealand products is expected to result in significant revenue losses for Pacific governments.  The Pacific Globalization Network called the agreement “unbalanced” as important provisions on workers` aid and mobility are not binding.  The Pacific Closer Economic Relations Agreement (PACER) is a framework agreement to gradually deepen trade and investment liberalization in the wider Pacific. It was signed in 2001 and came into force in 2002. PACER includes Australia and New Zealand, which are excluded from the PICTA, and requires all members to enter into negotiations for a free trade agreement by 2011 at the latest. In August 2008, Simon Crean, then Australia`s trade minister, began advocating for a “PACER plus” agreement instead of the free trade agreement initially envisaged, which marks the aggressive attitude of Australia to conclude an agreement, particularly in the context of the outstanding EU EPA with Pacific island states. A number of Pacific Island civil society officials and critics said the PACER agreement was of little use to them, with some urging greater labour mobility for Pacific Island workers to Australia and New Zealand. In June 2011, Fiji`s Attorney General criticized PACER for benefiting only the region`s powerful economics, Australia and New Zealand.
The agreement stipulates that the “Year 1 LDCs” for tariff reductions will be the calendar year following the date of their LDC graduation. The Solomon Islands, for example, will be considered for a closing ceremony at the next three-year review of the UN Development Policy Committee in March 2018. If the Solomon Islands were recommended and such a recommendation was approved by the United Nations Economic and Social Council and the General Assembly, the country could be completed as early as 2021, even if later deadlines are possible. Tariff reductions could therefore begin in 2022. Most tariffs would be zero by 2032 and tariffs on all products would be abolished by 2047. The Pacific Island Countries Trade Agreement (PICTA) is a free trade agreement on merchandise trade between 14 members of the Pacific Islands Forum. (Australia and New Zealand are excluded.) It was signed in 2001. Eleven countries – Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Niue, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu – have ratified PICTA to date.
From 2008, it will be extended to trade in services. PACER Plus is the proposed free trade agreement between the Forum Island Countries and Australia and New Zealand. Forum Island countries were firmly convinced of the need for an independent body to advise and support the PACER Plus negotiations, and the Office of the Chief Commercial Advator (OCTA) should therefore be set up. On March 29, 2010 was appointed Trade Adviser Head Chris Noonan, which is the first step towards the creation of the Office of the Chief Commercial Adverb. OCTA`s independence may have been compromised by the support it receives from some donors. The agreement required 8 ratifications to enter into force. At the end of 2018, two signatories completed the internal ratification processes of PACERPlus in New Zealand, which ratified PACERPlus in October 2018, followed by Australia in December 2018.