Closer Agreement

The ERC was built on the former New Zealand Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), signed on August 31, 1965 and entered into force on January 1, 1966. NAFTA had lifted four-fifths of tariffs between the two countries and quantitative restrictions on trade in the Tasmanian Sea. But it was deemed too complex and bureaucratic, and in March 1980 a joint statement by the Prime Minister was issued calling for “closer economic relations.” It was signed in Nauru on 3 October 2002 and came into force on 3 October 2002. It is a framework agreement that sets out a framework for the future development of trade and economic relations throughout the Forum region. It does not contain substantial provisions on trade liberalization; Rather, it provides for a gradual process of trade liberalization. This begins with a free trade agreement on goods between Pacific Island States (PICTA) which will be implemented from September 2008 and will likely be extended to services thereafter. Pacer provides programmes to assist members of island states, which facilitate exchanges and capacity building. It also provides for future forum-based reciprocal free trade negotiations (including Australia and New Zealand). For the time being, these negotiations are not scheduled for 2011, but they are likely to be preferred following the negotiations of the Pacific Island countries for an economic partnership agreement with the European Union. The Australia New Zealand Closer Economic Agreement (ANZCERTA), which came into force in 1983, was the first bilateral agreement in Australia.

ANZCERTA has created one of the most open and successful free trade agreements in the world. The Australia-New Zealand Closer Economic Relations Trade Agreement (CER) is a free trade agreement between the governments of New Zealand and Australia. On March 28, 1983, the treaty itself was signed only by the Australian Deputy Prime Minister and Trade Minister Lionel Bowen and the New Zealand High Commissioner for Australia, Laurie Francis, in Canberra, Australia. The agreement stipulates that the “Year 1 LDCs” for tariff reductions will be the calendar year following the date of their LDC graduation. The Solomon Islands, for example, will be considered for a closing ceremony at the next three-year review of the UN Development Policy Committee in March 2018. If the Solomon Islands were recommended and such a recommendation was approved by the United Nations Economic and Social Council and the General Assembly, the country could be completed as early as 2021, even if later deadlines are possible. Tariff reductions could therefore begin in 2022. Most tariffs would be zero by 2032 and tariffs on all products would be abolished by 2047. The Peaceful Agreement on Closer Economic Relations (PACER Plus) was launched on 14 June 2017 in Tonga.

Closer Agreement
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