Thursday, 2 April 2009 2:27 PM

Australia's Trade Minister and Parliamentary Secretary Visit Solomon Islands

Minister for Trade Simon Crean and Parliamentary Secretary for International Development Assistance, Bob McMullan, today arrived in the Solomon Islands to consult with their counterparts on a broad range of trade and development issues.

It is understood that a key component of discussions will be the prospective PACER Plus agreement.

"Pacific Island Forum Leaders attach a great deal of importance to PACER plus, which will be a comprehensive trade and economic development agreement between Pacific Forum Island countries and Australia and New Zealand," Mr Crean said in press statement prior to his departure from Australia.

"The more the Pacific nations are integrated with the region and with the wider global community - and the freer the flow of goods, services and investment within the Pacific - the better the prospect of genuine, stable and long-term economic growth in Pacific communities.

"PACER Plus will play a crucial role in promoting economic stability and growth," Mr Crean said.

"Australia is determined that PACER Plus will take account of the individual circumstances of Pacific Island countries. I am looking forward to these consultations which will deepen our understanding of the trade policy priorities of a number of our neighbours in the Pacific region," Mr Crean said.

"We are already assisting countries to improve their trade policies through AusAID funding for training and independent analysis," Mr McMullan said.

"As PACER Plus progresses, we will help Pacific countries increase trade by supporting trade facilitation programs and sectoral reforms that create jobs and more secure livelihoods for their communities," he said.

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