RELEASE: Pacific Regional Trade Facilitation Strategy launched in Geneva

Media Releases and News
27 June 2024

26 June, Geneva, Switzerland: The Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) and the World Bank Group (WBG), in partnership with Australia, CARICOM, the European Union and Vanuatu launched "The Pacific Regional Trade Facilitation Strategy - PRTFS" during the 9th Aid for Trade Global Review (AfTGR) in Geneva, Switzerland. The launch marks the formal commencement of implementation by PIF Members.

The PRTF Strategy emanates from the Pacific Aid for Trade Strategy 2020-2025 (PAfTS) and is a milestone document for the Pacific. The PRTF Strategy contributes to the Resource and Economic Development thematic area of the 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent (2050 Strategy) and is expected to stimulate growth of international and intra-regional trade. The main purpose of the PRTF Strategy is to implement regional reforms (actions) to reduce time and cost of trading goods across borders. The Strategy defines five strategic objectives that lead to twenty-two regional actions.

Marking this significant event, a panel discussion was held during the Global Review at the WTO Geneva focused on the key elements of the Strategy, its importance, usefulness and benefits, perspectives of donors and development partners. Moderating the panel discussion, the Forum Director for Programmes and Initiatives, Zarak Khan, noted how forum trade initiatives are producing results. “I do believe that trade facilitation is paramount, as a tangible impact on the day to day lives of the Pacific people rests on what happens when goods cross borders – how complex and slow or how simple and fast border clearance is,” he said, “Therefore, this PRTF Strategy is of utmost importance to the region”.

During the panel discussion, the World Bank Group’s Global Product Specialist for Trade Facilitation & Border Management Bill Gain, spoke of the role the World Bank plays in global trade. “The World Bank Group spearheads most of the trade facilitation related capacity building projects in all regions of the globe and this partnership with the Forum is an  important collaboration to achieve the Bank’s mission of ending extreme poverty and boosting shared prosperity on a liveable planet,” he said. He expressed confidence in the  initiative’s regional approach, “providing  efficient coordination at the implementation level for the better use of scarce resources.”

Other panellists highlighted the importance of a regional approach to implement trade facilitation and shared experiences from their respective countries and regions. As the initial step of implementation commences, PIF is already gathering data and information related to regional projects on trade facilitation in the Pacific.

The Strategy is available here: Pacific Trade Facilitation Initiative