Joint media release

  • Senator the Hon Marise Payne, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Minister for Women
14 October 2020

Trade opportunities across the Pacific will be boosted with formal notification today that Cook Islands has ratified the Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations Plus (PACER Plus).

As the eighth signatory to the trade deal, Cook Islands is the final ratification required to trigger the entry into force of PACER Plus, delivering new export opportunities for our Pacific partners.

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Women, Senator the Hon Marise Payne, said the Agreement is an important part of Australia’s stepped-up engagement in the Pacific, and would support the region’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This is a real milestone to reach with our Pacific family,” Minister Payne said. “It represents a further deepening of Australia’s relationship with the Pacific and our ongoing commitment to the region.

“PACER Plus is about improving opportunities for trade and investment, and working together for the shared prosperity of our region.”

Australia will provide $19 million in development assistance to our Pacific partners to support them with the implementation of the trade agreement, maximising opportunities for their local businesses to access export markets.

Federal Trade Minister Simon Birmingham said PACER Plus would provide a major boost to the Pacfic and enhance trade opportunities across the region.

“This trade deal will play a crucial role in the success of our region and will see benefits flow to communities, farmers, fishers, businesses and investors,” Minister Birmingham said.

“With PACER Plus now a reality, we look forward to working with countries and businesses in the Pacific and across Australia to help them make the most of new opportunities.

“The closer ties created by this agreement will also play a valuable role in supporting the region and our Pacific Island partners to recover from the impacts of COVID-19, contributing to an economically stronger and more secure region.”

The Agreement will enter into force on 13 December 2020, 60 days after the ratification by Cook Islands on 14 October 2020. Australia, Cook Islands, Kiribati, Niue, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga and New Zealand have now ratified. The remaining signatories that are yet to ratify are Nauru, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.

For more PACER Plus information, refer to: