Payne hopeful Fiji will join PACER Plus plan

Australia's new Minister for Foreign Affairs Marise Payne shake hands with Fiji's Local Government Minister Premila Kumar. Picture: SUPPLIED

AUSTRALIA says it is very committed to the PACER Plus agreement and is hopeful that Fiji will come onboard.

This was highlighted by Australia’s new Minister for Foreign Affairs, Marise Payne while addressing the Fijian media at Suva’s Grand Pacific Hotel yesterday.

Ms Payne said Australia was always open to further discussions on PACER Plus with the Fijian Government.

“We are still very committed to PACER Plus,” she said.

“We are committed to creating the best environment for trade and engagement across our broad region, but it doesn’t preclude bilateral engagements and we have a very open approach with our partners and ensuring the best outcomes we can for those bilateral relationships.

“But the structure that PACER Plus gives, I think is also an enhancer and something that we continue to discuss with countries like Fiji who have not yet determined whether they wish to take it up.”

She said one thing that Australia noticed following the prosecution of the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement was the strength it delivered.

“I think that reinforces the value of such agreements and Australia is always open to further discussion on PACER Plus.”

PACER Plus is an umbrella agreement between members of the Pacific Islands Forum, which provides a framework for the future development of trade co-operation.

For some time, Fiji has not agreed to the demands of Australia under the PACER Plus agreement and is still at the negotiating table.

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