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Wednesday, 18 May 2016

European unity and Pacific integration

Regional economic integration continues as an elusive goal since the intergovernmental organization, Pacific Island Forum (the Forum) was established in 1971. It received a boost when the euro was launched on Jan 1, 1999, just as it inspired several such moves in Latin America and Africa. Regional free trade agreements were signed in 2001. They included Pacific island countries Trade Agreement (PICTA) between 14 Forum member countries, excluding Australia and New Zealand (ANZ) for free trade by 2011; and Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Cooperation (PACER) for free trade in goods and services by 2015 between all Forum members. They came to be overlapped with a quick move by EU for replacing the then lapsing Cotonou Agreement with Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) on regional basis. The apparent rivalry between EU and ANZ was affecting the progress. In the meanwhile, Forum Leaders adopted a Pacific Plan in their annual meeting in PNG in 2005. One of the Four Pillars was regional integration. Fiji’s military coup of 2006 totally changed the situation. Sanctions imposed by ANZ against Fiji and its suspension of the country from the Forum, isolated Fiji.

Source: solomonstarnews.com