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pacer_plus_roadmap [2009/07/16 06:43] (current)
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 +====== PACER Plus Joint Roadmap ======
 +The following roadmap was agreed by officials from 15 Forum member countries (Fiji having been excluded from this meeting).  It has not been endorsed by ministers or leaders.
 +
 +===== Objectives and Guiding Principles =====
 +
 +1.  Building on existing regional trading arrangements, PACER Plus should be a framework encouraging the gradual trade and economic integration of the economies of the Forum members in a way that is fully supportive of sustainable development and poverty reduction within the Forum Island Countries, and to contribute to their gradual and progressive integration into the international economy.  Forum members are mindful of the need for the approach and pace of trade and economic integration to depend upon the different sizes, stages of development and unique circumstances of each Forum Island Country.
 +
 +2.  Forum members recognise that the sustainable development of all parties is integral to the prosperity of the region as a whole.  PACER Plus aims to support the Forum Leaders' Vision of a Pacific region of peace, harmony, security and economic prosperity, so that all of its people can lead free and worthwhile lives.  PACER Plus provides the opportunity for FICs, Australia and New Zealand to create a new agreement which is genuinely supportive of FICs' sustainable economic development, and which provides the tools to increase jobs and export capacity.  It is the aim of this agreement to create a truly unique arrangement that will contribute to greater regional integration and prosperity in keeping with the goals of the Pacific Plan.
 +
 +3.  The objectives of PACER Plus include the following guiding principles:
 +
 +  * To provide a framework for cooperation leading over time to the development of a single regional market;
 +  * To foster increased trade and economic opportunities and competitiveness for Forum Island Countries through more effective trading arrangements;
 +  * To minimise any disruptive effects and adjustment costs to the economies of Forum Island Countries, including the provision of assistance and support for the Forum Island Countries to undertake the necessary economic reforms;
 +  * To provide economic and technical assistance to the Forum Island Countries in order to assist them in implementing trade liberalisation and economic integration and in securing the benefits from liberalisation and integration;
 +  * Be consistent, where relevant, with WTO provisions and build on Forum members' WTO commitments;
 +  * Recognition of the different sizes and stages of economic development, including special and differential treatment.
 +
 +===== Sustainable Development =====
 +
 +4.  To achieve the interlinked objectives of sustainable development, poverty eradication and the smooth integration of the Forum Island Countries into the international economy, PACER Plus must be first and foremost an instrument for economic development, and the development dimension will be reflected in all areas of negotiation and cooperation.  PACER Plus will promote the individual development objectives of each country within the region.  In doing so it will take into account specific economic, social, environmental and structural constraints of the Forum Island Countries, as well as their capacity to adapt their economies to the PACER Plus process.
 +
 +===== Improvement of Existing Regional Trading Arrangements =====
 +
 +5.  PACER Plus will improve existing trading arrangements between parties to the agreement.
 +
 +6.  In accordance with PICTA, the Forum Island Countries may liberalise trade among themselves and integrate their economies at a different pace and with different priorities than those with which they liberalise trade, and integrate their economies, with the economies of Australia and New Zealand.
 +
 +===== Special and Differential Treatment =====
 +
 +7.  Economic and trade cooperation will take account of the different needs and levels of development of the Forum Island Countries.  All Forum members agree that under the PACER Plus process, special and differential treatment will be provided to all Forum Island Countries, taking into account the particular constraints of Forum island Least Developed Countries (LDCs), Freely Associated State members and Smaller Island States (SIS) and their need for special treatment to enable them to overcome the serious economic and social difficulties hindering their development so as to accelerate their respective rates of development.
 +
 +8.  New trading arrangements between Forum members will incorporate a variety of forms of special and differential treatment, not limited to longer transitional periods and technical assistance.  The way in which special and differential treatment is embedded in PACER Plus may go beyond existing WTO measures and include provisions that effectively address the Forum Island Countries' critical constraints of small size, dispersed land masses and populations, and isolation from major markets, sources of investment and supply of important economic inputs.
 +
 +9.  Flexibility will be built into the overarching framework of PACER Plus to allow individual countries to adjust the pattern and schedule of implementation to their national circumstances, whilst pursuing the overall objective of regional integration.
 +
 +===== Coverage =====
 +
 +10.  Forum members recognise that the PACER Plus process should aim to establish a comprehensive partnership between all Forum members, which will encompass a broad range of developmentally beneficial areas.
 +
 +11.  The desirable coverage of a PACER Plus agreement will be the subject of early and extensive consultation, providing a broad range of stakeholders from across government, the private sector and civil society within all Forum members the opportunity to contribute to the decision-making process.  The eventual coverage of the agreement will take into account the varying needs and conditions in different Forum Island Countries, and therefore permit the coverage adopted by different countries to vary where necessary, so as to align closely with countries' individual development strategies.
 +
 +12.  Taking into consideration the capacity constraints within Forum Island Countries, and the technical complexity involved in negotiating agreements in a broad range of trade-related areas, Forum members appreciate the need to prioritise those areas which are likely to have the greatest effect in achieving their common objectives.  All Forum members agree that, in accordance with the objectives of the PACER Plus process, decisions on the coverage of the PACER Plus agreement will prioritise those areas with the most clear and unambiguous developmental benefits, in accordance with the views expressed by all stakeholders through national consultative processes.
 +
 +13.  In the initial phases of national consultation, views will be sought on the possibility of including, inter alia, provisions on trade in goods, trade in services, labour mobility, investment, competition, government procurement, intellectual property (including traditional knowledge), the environment, labour standards, rules of origin, Sanitary and Phytosanitary Standards and Technical Barriers to Trade (SPS and TBT), dispute settlement mechanisms, economic cooperation and development, development assistance and capacity building.
 +
 +14.  PACER Plus will be comprehensive in scope, which should seek the progressive elimination of barriers as between the 16 Forum members, with respect to trade in goods, services and investment, as well as improved trade and investment facilitation and economic cooperation measures.
 +
 +===== Structure of the Agreement =====
 +
 +15.  The comprehensive partnership referred to in Paragraph 10 will be formalised in one or more legally binding PACER Plus agreements between Forum Island Countries and Australia and New Zealand.  The structure of that agreement (or those agreements) will be designed to reflect the guiding principle of special and differential treatment, creating not only an asymmetry between developed and developing parties, but enabling the form, level and timing of participation in the PACER Plus process to depend on individual contexts, sizes and levels of development.  New trading arrangements will be fully compatible with World Trade Organization rules then prevailing.
 +
 +16.  The unique circumstances of individual Forum Island Countries will best be accommodated through an agreement that permits each country to determine which elements are conducive to its own economic development, given its unique circumstances, and to negotiate its own optimal timeframe over which different commitments can realistically and beneficially be adopted.
 +
 +17.  The overarching structure of the agreement will be negotiated as per the guidelines of the above two paragraphs, noting in particular the special concerns of the Compact states.  There are a number of different options for the structure of the agreement which will be explored during the negotiations.  Those options include, inter alia:
 +
 +  - a structure under which all Forum members sign up to an overarching umbrella agreement, under which individual Forum Island Countries are able to make their own decision as to if and when it would be in their development interests to accede to chapters on subjects such as, for instance, trade in goods, trade in services, labour mobility and other trade related subjects; and
 +  - a structure in which all Forum members sign up to an overarching umbrella agreement that contains provisions common to all parties (such as objectives, guiding principles, dispute settlement, entry-into-force), as well as other provisions, including individual schedules of commitments for Parties.
 +
 +===== Structure of the Negotiation Process =====
 +
 +18.  In accordance with Article 17 of PACER, the Forum Secretariat will provide secretariat services to all Forum members during all phases of the PACER Plus process.
 +
 +19.  Until such time as the office of the Chief Trade Advisor is established and functioning, the Forum Secretariat will also provide technical support to the Forum Island Countries in relation to all PACER Plus activities, including where necessary in the establishment of the office of the Chief Trade Advisor.
 +
 +20.  All Forum members agree that, as free and independent sovereign nations, each country has the absolute right to determine for itself how it should be represented in all negotiations processes.  All Forum members are committed to respecting the decisions of other members in this regard.
 +
 +21.  Forum members strongly share the desire and agree to move forward with PACER Plus by commencing work to build national negotiation capacity of Forum Island Countries with support from Australia and New Zealand, recognising the priority placed by Forum Island Countries on the early appointment of a Chief Trade Adviser<del> [including through possible interim arrangements]</del>.
 +
 +22.  PACER Plus negotiations will take place at two levels, namely at the ministerial and negotiators/technical level.  Ministerial meetings will occur at least once a year, or to review progress in the negotiations.
 +
 +23.  Negotiating priority should be given to those sectors and areas of interest to Forum Island Countries, with the recognition that all issues will need to be agreed before the negotiations are concluded.
 +
 +24.  The negotiation process will consist of four phases recognising the capacity constraints of FICs as we move between phases: informal consultations, national consultations and research, formal consultations and negotiations.
 +
 +===== Indicative Schedule of Consultations and Negotiations =====
 +
 +25.  Forum Leaders agreed in 2008 that the roadmap for PACER Plus should be prepared with a view to their agreeing at the 2009 Forum to the commencement of negotiations.
 +
 +26.  Once Leaders have agreed to the commencement of negotiation process, and the OCTA has been established, the first meeting should be held without delay and will address procedures. 
 +
 +===== National Consultations and Research =====
 +
 +27.  The objective of national consultations will be:
 +
 +  - to provide national stakeholders with all of the information they need to engage in an informed debate on the future of PACER Plus by gathering existing research and commissioning new studies where necessary;
 +  - to gain a thorough understanding of different stakeholders' views and interests in terms of:
 +    - the desired coverage of the agreement, considering, inter alia, the possibilities suggested in paragraph 13; and
 +    - the country's offensive and defensive interests.
 +  - to build, to the extent possible, a national consensus on the country's future engagement with the PACER Plus process.
 +
 +28.  Forum members acknowledge the need for a consultative process aimed at canvassing opinion and building a national consensus on core issues of national interest.  The critical importance of determining stakeholders' views and assessing each country's own offensive and defensive interests means that this process must be underway before formal consultations begin and continue throughout the negotiation process.
 +
 +29.  Forum members recognize that, given the capacity constraints and lack of experience in the administrations of Forum Island Countries, potential delays in the implementation of national consultation and research plans may arise as unanticipated needs are identified.   
 +
 +30.  Forum members recognise that this process of national consultations will require a significant resource commitment which could be undermined by an intensive meeting schedule.  Members envisage holding no more than two meetings in the first 18 months following the establishment of the OCTA, unless members agree that additional meetings would be helpful. 
 +
 +===== Formal Consultations =====
 +
 +31.  The purpose of the formal consultations will be to discuss the topics, timing and modalities for the subsequent phases of the negotiations (building on the structure envisaged in paragraphs 15 - 17.  The rounds will help identify capacity-building needs and inform national consultations.
 +
 +===== Legal Text =====
 +
 +32.  Design of the structure and elaboration of a legal text and schedules of commitments, in accordance with the agreements reached on coverage and structure, will only occur once Members are satisfied that national preparations are sufficiently advanced to enable meaningful engagement, and not during the 18 month period following the establishment of the OCTA. 
 +
 +===== Capacity building and Development Assistance =====
 +
 +33.  Australia and New Zealand will provide appropriate assistance to Forum Island Countries that will enable them to participate fully in the negotiating process.  Australia and New Zealand will also provide appropriate assistance to advance Forum Island Countries' trade capacity, trade promotion and trade development.
 +
 +34.  Coordination between donors remains an important challenge in the provision of development assistance.  Inadequate coordination can reduce the effectiveness and efficiency of aid, and place a considerable additional burden on recipient governments.  Development assistance provided through PACER Plus will ensure coordination to the fullest extent possible in accordance with the Paris Declaration on aid effectiveness. 
 +
 +35.  Furthermore, the adaptation of Forum Island Countries to accommodate any new trading arrangements under PACER Plus is likely to generate a significant additional administrative burden and concomitant material costs.  Forum Island Countries will require additional assistance to address any such needs.
 +
 +36.  Not all forms of development assistance would be more appropriately guided by the PACER Plus process, and Forum members recognise that whilst it will be appropriate for new forms of assistance to be provided within PACER Plus, that existing and further new programmes may be more appropriately managed bilaterally, or through other regional institutions.