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The Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations Plus (PACER Plus) is to come into force with the Cook Islands ratifying the agreement this week.

Cook Islands is the eighth signatory to PACER Plus, joining Australia, Kiribati, New Zealand, Niue, Samoa, Solomon Islands and Tonga.

Cook Islands Prime Minister Mark Brown says the agreement is important to his country: “economic diversification is a cornerstone of our development strategy and international trade policy must be an important strategic tool we use to strengthen and diversify our economy. We have participated actively over the years in the PACER Plus negotiations and fought hard to ensure that the Agreement will work for us.  We are certain that PACER Plus will open new trade and investment opportunities for the Cook Islands that have not existed before.  As with every Agreement, however, it will be up to us to take advantage of those opportunities in the months ahead.  My Government is committed to that goal and will dedicate resources to support make that possible and working closely with our business community in the months ahead,”

PACER Plus includes detailed provisions on the trade in goods, services and investment.

Cook Islands says the associated commitments by Australia and New Zealand to provide Aid-for-Trade assistance AUD$ 25 million(US$17 million) to enable Forum Island parties to PACER Plus to build their capacities to take advantage of the agreement are also significant.

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