PIFS Announces EU Assistance for Trade and Regional Economic Integration

21 December 2011: The Pacific Island Forum Secretariat (PIFS) has announced that the EU has committed €12.3 million to increase Pacific countries' ability to benefit from global trade and regional economic integration. Pacific members of the African Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries will be included in the project. The EU, PIFS, the South Pacific Tourism Organisation (SPTO) and the Oceania Customs Organisation (OCO), signed the project funding agreement on 20 December 2011.

PIFS reports that the activities will be financed under the 10th European Development Fund, as part of the Strengthening Pacific Economic Integration Through Trade (SPEITT) programme. The SPEITT programme aims to: improve technical capabilities by facilitating trade negotiations at the regional and multilateral levels; promote greater integration of trade policy into national development frameworks; introduce better customs management and systems; and increase productive export capacity in key economic sectors such as agriculture, forestry and tourism.

According to PIFS, SPTO funding will contribute to the Pacific Regional Tourism Capacity Building Program (PRTCBP), which aims to strengthen Pacific ACP states' productive capacity in the sustainable development of the tourism sector. OCO funding will go towards the Trade Facilitation in Customs Cooperation (TFCC) project, which aims at improving trade facilitation through improved customs management and efficient systems. The Pacific ACP countries include: Fiji, Tonga, Samoa, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Kiribati, Vanuatu, Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of Nauru, the Republic of Palau, Cook Islands and Niue. [PIFS Press Release]