Nauru signs PICTA Trade in Services protocol
The Republic of Nauru is the latest country to sign and ratify the Pacific Island Countries Trade Agreement (PICTA) trade in services protocol. Shadlock Bernicke, Nauru’s Minister for Telecommunications and Utilities, signed the PICTA trade in services protocol last week on behalf of the Government of the Republic of Nauru, and also deposited its instrument of ratification with the Forum Secretariat.<!--more-->
The Protocol, as negotiated by the Forum Island Countries (FIC), seeks to promote the growth and development of their economies through the liberalisation of trade in services, which will contribute to increased regional economic growth, employment and integration amongst the Forum island economies.
“Nauru’s signature and ratification of the PICTA trade in services Protocol is an invitation to the Forum island country service providers to extend their services to Nauru. We welcome FIC investors and service providers to contribute to Nauru’s economic development as it will enable deeper regional integration in line with our Leaders’ Vision for the Forum region,” Mr Bernicke said.
Tuiloma Neroni Slade, Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, said, “I congratulate the government of Nauru for the signing and ratification of this Protocol. The commitments made by the FICs under the PICTA trade in services Protocol indeed support deeper integration of the FIC economies and provide an opportunity for the Pacific private sector to have access to a larger regional market.”
The PICTA trade in service protocol was opened for signature on August 28, 2012. Ten countries have signed the Protocol, namely the Cook Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Nauru, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu. To date, Samoa and Nauru have ratified the PICTA trade in services protocol. The protocol will enter into force once six countries have ratified the agreement.
“The Nauru government will progress the necessary domestic preparations to implement the PICTA trade in services protocol in due course,” Mr Bernicke confirmed after signing the protocol, and handing over Nauru’s instrument of ratification to Secretary General Slade.
“To effectively benefit from economic opportunities provided through this regional integration initiative, FICs are urged to progress their necessary domestic preparations including legislative reforms to progress their signature and/or ratification, and implementation of the PICTA trade in services protocol,” Mr Slade said.
The commitments under the PICTA trade in services protocol include services sector liberalization by all FICs in areas of common interest to the FICs, notably tourism, transportation and business services as a starting point for liberalization in the region. The liberalization of additional services sectors is to be pursued in line with the capacity of individual FICs.
The Secretariat will be supporting the FICs in the implementation of the PICTA trade in services protocol.