Press Release - Tuvalu is the seventh Forum Island Country (FIC) party to the Pacific Island Countries Trade Agreement (PICTA) that has announced readiness to trade under PICTA terms and conditions.

At the Forum Trade Ministers Meeting, in Pohnpei on 29 April 2010, Ministers welcomed Tuvalu's announcement of their readiness to trade under the PICTA and congratulated Tuvalu for making necessary domestic arrangements for PICTA trading. Ministers also noted the need for the FICs yet to announce readiness to trade under PICTA to do so with urgency.

"We are ready to facilitate imports and exports under PICTA," Hon. Lotoala Metia, Tuvalu's Minister for Finance and Economic Planning said. He noted with appreciation the support provided by development partners and regional organizations.

"I thank the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS), Pacific Financial Technical Assistance Centre (PFTAC), the Asian Development Bank (ADB), AusAID and NZAID's support in assisting Tuvalu to undertake the reforms necessary to engage in the trade liberalization initiatives," Minister Metia stated.

"A comprehensive customs and fiscal reforms has been undertaken to ensure that Tuvalu is not adversely affected by engagement in PICTA trade," Hon. Metia explained.

Recognising Tuvalu's limitations in creating exports, Hon. Metia said that there are nonetheless significant benefits that can arise from increased regional trade. "Improvements in the transportation infrastructure and increase in the variety of goods are examples of benefits that can result from PICTA trade," Hon. Metia added.

Secretary General of the Pacific Island Forum Secretariat, Tuiloma Neroni Slade welcomed Tuvalu's announcement of readiness to trade under PICTA.

"I congratulate Tuvalu for their engagement in the reforms to facilitate PICTA trade, and encourage the remaining FICs parties to PICTA to expedite the implementation of PICTA as per our Leaders' decision," Mr Slade said

Tuvalu now joins Cook Islands, Fiji, Niue, Samoa, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu who are currently trading under PICTA terms and conditions.