Trade Ministers from across the Pacific region will converge next Friday (11th May) in Majuro, the capital of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, for the 2012 Forum Trade Ministers’ Meeting (FTMM).
The trade ministerial will be preceded by the 2012 Forum Trade Officials Meeting (FTOM) from 8th- 9th May, also in Majuro.
Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, Tuiloma Neroni Slade, says the Trade Officials’ and succeeding Ministers’ meetings provide an opportunity for important discussions and advancement on priority regional trade issues.
“Next week’s series of meetings will also give the Forum Secretariat the opportunity to update Members on its ongoing trade-related work,” says Mr Slade.
Pacific Islands Trade and Invest
Discussions will include progress of the Secretariat’s Pacific Islands Trade and Invest offices located in Sydney, Auckland, Tokyo and Beijing, which continue to promote trade and investment development throughout the region, with benefits particularly for Smaller Island States.
“These overseas trade offices continue to attract new investors and business partners for the region through the promotion and facilitation of export markets for products from the Pacific,” says Mr Slade.
Ministers and senior officials will also discuss progress on World Trade Organisation (WTO) related issues.
“The Secretariat’s Geneva Office continues to represent Forum Island Countries’ interests at the multilateral level,” says Mr Slade. “Ministers and senior officials will be provided with an update of the Geneva Office’s current operations and long-term plans.”
The Permanent Delegation of the Pacific Islands Forum to the WTO is based in Geneva, Switzerland. The ‘Geneva Office’ is charged with representing and assisting Forum Island Country WTO Members and Observers, and to assist other Forum Island Countries to engage more fully with the WTO.
Forum Trade Officials and Ministers will also receive important updates on the progress of the PACER Plus consultations, including the recent Non-State Actors’ Dialogue on PACER Plus.
Traditional Knowledge and Intellectual Property
Forum Trade Officials and Ministers will assess progress of the region’s Traditional Knowledge (TK) Action Plan, launched in 2009, and deliberate on a process for moving into Phase Two of the initiative.
“Phase One of the TK Action Plan, which began in 2009 and concluded in December 2011, focused on developing policy and legislative systems to protect Traditional Knowledge in Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Palau, Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu,” explains Mr Slade.
It is anticipated that Phase Two will focus on assisting additional Forum Island Countries in the development of TK policy and legislative frameworks and in promoting the cultural and TK industries.
Intellectual Property deliberations will focus on progressing the Regional Trademarks Application System.