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.