Caption: (L – R) Hon Pinto?Katia, Minister for Commerce, Industry and Trade and Kiribati officials with Secretary General?TuilomaNeroni?Slade?at the signing of?the?MoU?at the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat in Suva.
Kiribati becomes the second country to sign the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to establish the Pacific Regional Trade and Development Facility (the Facility). Vanuatu was the first to sign the?MoU?at the Pacific?ACP?Trade Ministers Meeting held in May 2013 in Nadi.
While signing the?MoU?on behalf of the Government of Kiribati, the Honorable Pinto?Katia, Minister for Commerce, Industry and Trade, highlighted the importance of Aid for Trade for small island economies such as Kiribati. ?This?MoU?is the first step for the countries from the Pacific region to join efforts to highlight the importance of proper channeling of adequate aid to assist in the development of trade in the Pacific island countries,? Hon.?Katia?said.
?Investing in the development of trade will assist our economies to provide employment and improve the livelihood of our people. The?MoUprovides the region with a great opportunity for coordinated partnership between all stakeholders in providing Aid for Trade,? Hon.?Katiasaid. ?Coordinated efforts in trade facilitation, promotion and capacity building activities will enhance and?maximise?the benefits from the resources available to the Pacific region, and Kiribati looks forward to benefiting from such arrangements,? Hon.?Katia?added.
The Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat,?Tuiloma?Neroni?Slade, thanked the Government of Kiribati for its commitment to the?MoU?to establish the Facility.
?The Pacific Regional Trade and Development Facility has the potential to provide regional trade-related assistance in a timely and effective manner and to enhance the ability of Pacific Island Countries to actively participate in the international trading system.? Mr. Slade stated. ?I congratulate Kiribati for signing the?MoU. The Facility is expected to play a vital role in assisting development partners in coordinating their Aid for Trade resources for the Pacific region.? Mr Slade added.
?We look forward to other Pacific?ACP?States to follow suit in signing the?MoU?in view of the importance of the Facility in securing Aid for Trade resources.? Hon.?Katia?stated.
?The Pacific?ACP?region is currently in the final stages of the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) negotiations with the European Union (EU). Development Cooperation is an important part of the EPA. EU?s support and commitment is being sought to provide resources to the Pacific?ACP?States in the implementation of the EPA through the Facility,? Hon.?Katia?said. ?The EPA Aid for Trade needs and other important issues will be discussed at the upcoming EPA negotiations that will be held in Brussels in the coming weeks from?24 June- 5 July,? Hon.?Katia?confirmed.
?I thank the Forum Secretariat for its continued support and engagement with the Pacific Island countries in progressing the trade and development agenda in the region,? Hon.?Katia?concluded.
The?MoU?is now open for signature by other Pacific Island Countries, Development Partners, and regional and international?organisationsthat wish to benefit from and support the Facility.