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Trade Policy Frameworks

TRADE POLICY FRAMEWORKS

1.                  Trade Policy Frameworks

Trade is an essential developmental tool for Pacific Island countries and has the potential to stimulate economic growth and contribute to inclusive sustainable economic development that will benefit Pacific community. As such, it is crucial that trade is mainstreamed into national policies such as development and poverty reduction strategies to ensure that Member States are well positioned to exploit the opportunities provided through regional and international trade.

The Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat has provided technical and financial assistance towards the formulation of Trade Policy Frameworks with the assistance of the European Union’s (EU) Pacific Integration Technical Assistance Project (PITAP) and the Hub and Spokes Programme, a capacity building Programme funded by the EU and the Commonwealth Secretariat.

The overall objective of Trade Policy Frameworks (which comprises a comprehensive report, a short trade policy statement and a results-based implementation matrix[1]) is to enhance the participation of the private sector in the economy and to promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth leading to increased employment opportunities and better standards of living for the Pacific communities. The Trade Policy is a living document that guides the nation on various trade policy initiatives. The key objectives of the Trade Policy Frameworks include the following:

·         to mainstream trade into the national development strategy and use the Trade Policy Framework to secure Aid for Trade from trade and development partners to assist Pacific Island Countries to implement their various trade policy initiatives

·         to identify and further develop the key priority sectors that have potential for growth (e.g. tourism, trade in services, a few niche agricultural products and fisheries). The Trade Policy also helps to identify and address production and supply-side constraints hindering trade in key sectors of the economy

·         to improve coordination and consultation between the Government, the private sector and civil society and articulate a clear strategy to guide the nation in negotiating and implementing regional and international trade Agreements (e.g. EPA, PACER Plus etc…)  with the ultimate objective of securing the best market access for goods, services,  from the Pacific as well as labor mobility and Aid for Trade

·         to create a transparent and predictable trade and investment environment that is conducive for investment, private sector development and value addition

·         to coordinate all efforts to develop human resources, including the development of relevant skills that are required domestically by the private sector in Pacific Island Countries to develop vocational skills that are required abroad to enable FICs to fully utilise labor opportunities and increase the flow of remittances to FICs in a sustainable manner

·         to establish and/or improve trade-related infrastructure, strengthen the legal and institutional framework for regulating services and liberalise trade in services to promote competitiveness and efficiency, and reduce the cost of doing business. This will enable the FICs to participate effectively in the upper rungs of the regional and global value chains.

  Steps Towards the Formulation of Trade Policy Frameworks

            Trade Policy Frameworks are formulated based on feedback received through consultations with stakeholders in government, the private sector and non-state actors. The following provides a general outline of the process:

i.)   Comprehensive consultations conducted at the National Level– this encompasses consultative meetings with the key trade stakeholders in the private and public sectors, as well as civil society organisations. Consultations revolve around discussions on the key challenges faced by the respective countries in taking advantage of trade opportunities.

 

ii.)   Validation Workshop– a workshop is convened whereby stakeholders are provided the opportunity to comment on the first draft of the Trade Policy Framework. Comments are sought on the recommendations in the draft report to ensure that these are aligned to national and sectoral priorities.

 

iii.)   Cabinet/Parliamentary Approval– following further revisions as per the outcomes of the Validation Workshop, the Trade Policy Framework is then transmitted to Cabinet for further deliberation and to obtain Cabinet endorsement.

 

iv.)   Implementation– the recommendations of the Trade Policy Framework are streamlined into the relevant national development policies, plans, regulations and laws. Aid for Trade will be mobilised from trade and development partners to assist in the implementation of the Trade Policy.

 

v.)   The Trade Policy Frameworks are monitored and reviewed on a regular basis to ensure that they are still relevant and effective.

 

2.                  Trade Policy Framework Endorsements

Federated States of Micronesia

“I am confident that the Trade Policy will help in putting the necessary measures in place to address the supply-side constraints and help our national to produce goods and services that can be traded competitively on the international market and help us to achieve our shared goals of economic growth, employment creation, poverty alleviation and sustainable development.”

Emmanuel Mori

President of the Federated States of Micronesia

January 2011

 

Republic of the Marshall Islands

“The adoption of this Trade Policy Framework shows the importance that the Government places on private sector development. I strongly believe that trade is the engine for sustainable economic growth and development and the role of Government should be to facilitate the participation of the private sector in trade. I am fully committed to working with all of you, especially the private sector and our trading partners and donors to ensure that the Trade Policy is fully implemented for the benefit of the Marshallese people.”

HE Christopher J Loeak

President of the Republic of the Marshal Islands

May 2012

 

Vanuatu

“The Vanuatu Trade Policy Framework is one of the most valued and honourable attempts at setting the policy direction which the whole spectrum of the Vanuatu Society can aim towards.”

Hon Ham Lini Vanuaroroa

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Trade, Commerce, Industries and Tourism

29th June 2012

 

Work undertaken on National Trade Policy Frameworks

Countries

Status on development of TPFs

Federated States of Micronesia (FSM)

TPF completed and endorsed by Cabinet in 2011

Republic of Marshall Islands (RMI)

TPF completed and endorsed by Cabinet in 2012 

Vanuatu

TPF completed and endorsed by Cabinet in 2012

Nauru

TPF completed and endorsed by Cabinet in June 2013

Cook Islands

Commenced development of TPF process in 2013

Tuvalu

Commenced development of TPF process in 2013

Solomon Islands

TPF completed and endorsed by Cabinet in 2015:

    Comprehensive Trade Policy Framework

    Trade Policy Statement

Niue

TPF in finalisation process and endorsement in 2015

Fiji

TPF completed and endorsed by Cabinet in 2015

Kiribati

To commence development of TPF process in 2015

Palau

Commenced development of TPF process in 2014

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