RELEASE: Continued UK support aims to advance stronger trade and economic opportunities in the Pacific region

Media Releases and News
09 May 2024

SUVA, May 9,2024 - The United Kingdom (UK) has reaffirmed its commitment to the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) Secretariat by providing additional funding under the Trade and Investment Advocacy Fund 2+ (TAF2+). The grant funding will support the PIF Secretariat in negotiations at the World Trade Organization (WTO).

“Several Pacific island states are constrained by their lack of representation in Geneva and the high costs of funding a full team of negotiators. TAF2+ support is most welcome in supporting us at the WTO,” said Ambassador Mere Falemaka.

The TAF2+ Programme has played a crucial role in offering technical support to the Pacific island states in trade negotiations at the WTO. The UK's decision to extend additional funding will enable a team of technical experts to continue providing technical assistance and capacity-building over the coming few months on regional trade priorities, including fisheries, agriculture, and trade and environment.

One of the highest priorities on the regional trade agenda is an agreement to end harmful subsidies to overcapacity and overfishing (OCOF), as mandated by Sustainable Development Goal 14.6. This follows the successful conclusion of an agreement on illegal, unregulated, and unreported fishing at the 12th WTO Ministerial Conference in Geneva in 2022.

Curbing overcapacity and overfishing is paramount to the sustainability of economies and marine resources of Pacific island states. In negotiations, PIF countries have emphasized the need for stricter regulations on the major subsidizers to curb subsidies that cause overcapacity and overfishing. Three-quarters of harmful subsidies originate from the top seven subsidizing members of the WTO. Despite recent progress in tackling these issues, an international agreement effectively addressing overcapacity and overfishing remains an urgent priority.

The PIF Secretariat has welcomed the UK's continued support through the extension of the TAF2+ Programme. The ongoing partnership between the UK and the region is critical to fostering sustainable trade and investment practices and aligns with the Secretariat's ongoing commitment to advocating for the interests and priorities of Pacific Island states on the global stage.