Press Statement - New Zealand will contribute $NZ1.95 million toward the establishment of the Office of Chief Trade Advisor (OCTA) to support Forum Island Countries' preparations for and participation in PACER Plus.

PACER Plus refers to a proposed comprehensive free trade and economic development agreement that will be negotiated by Forum members.

The New Zealand funding will be spread over three years. The first annual contribution of NZ$650,000 will be paid across this week through the Pacific Islands Forum Secretary General.

To ensure the independence of OCTA's advice and assistance to Forum Island Countries, it will operate separately from the Forum Secretariat with a Board of Governors made up of Forum Island Country representatives.

OCTA will provide Forum Island Countries the technical assistance necessary to support their engagement in PACER Plus related activities and negotiations. Its four key functions are advice and facilitation of capacity building, coordination, facilitation and representation.
New Zealand's contribution to OCTA is part of a targeted package of assistance to Pacific Island countries to support the region's development to capitalise on trade opportunities.

In supporting PACER Plus, New Zealand is committed to ensuring that the agreement promotes sustainable economic development in the Pacific.

New Zealand's vision for PACER Plus is an agreement that will equip Pacific Island countries better to withstand external shocks, to raise standards of living, to increase jobs and export capacity in the region and to address the significant trade imbalance that currently exists between the Pacific and New Zealand.

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