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Last year Pacific countries recognised the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic threaten to setback years of hard-won development gains at the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat’s Forum Economic Ministers Meeting.
This year, the Secretariat has commissioned Dr. Chris Noonan out of the University of Auckland in New Zealand to undertake a comprehensive review of Pacific Island Countries (PICs) trade arrangements expected to guide the PICs trade policy decisions.
The plan is that goods and services should flow freely in and out of the participating countries, creating market linkages for the Pacific.
Currently, Forum Economic Ministers have reaffirmed the need to work collaboratively with regional and national mechanisms that are already in place on COVID-19 related efforts, and collectively engage with development partners on key regional issues, including innovative development financing mechanisms.
Discussions between Pacific countries are ongoing virtually and aims to analyze the impact of regional trade arrangements.
The analysis from these discussions will provide options for the development of proposals for a coordinated regional trade policy strategy that can support economic recovery from COVID-19 as well as longer-term inclusive-growth through increased trade and investment.
Lavinia Kaumaitotoya, manager of the Pacific Island Farmers Organisation Network said members of the network are at the forefront of trade during the global pandemic and will be providing key information on surrounding trade issues.