THE Parliament’s Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee has launched a new inquiry into activating trade and investment between Australia and Pacific island countries.
Chair of the Committee’s Trade Sub-Committee, Ted O’Brien MP, said parliamentarians wanted to understand how to activate greater trade and investment opportunities with the Pacific region, not only to benefit Australia, but also our Pacific neighbours.
“Pacific Island nations might be in our backyard, but let’s not forget that Australia is also in theirs,” Mr O’Brien said.
“We’re far more than just trading nations, we’re neighbours who can mutually benefit by activating greater trade and investment opportunities, which is why we’re launching this parliamentary inquiry.
“We want to hear all the stories – the good and the bad – from practitioners in the field. We want to learn from businesses who are successfully exporting into the Pacific as well as from those who have tried and failed. We also want to hear from businesses who, right now, are weighing up the pros and cons, the risks versus the opportunities, of trading in the Pacific,” he said.
“Free trade is good for those nations which embrace it, and so we want this inquiry to examine the conditions that will help activate even more trade and investment opportunities, with the people of the Pacific and Australia all coming out winners.”
The inquiry follows Australia signing a new development-centred trade agreement, the Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations Plus (PACER Plus), with 13 other members of Pacific Islands Forum.
"We’re keen to explore how PACER Plus will help Pacific island countries become more active partners, and benefit from, the regional trading system," Mr O’Brien said.
Submissions from any person, businesses or organisations with an interest in the issues raised by these terms of reference are welcome. Submissions addressing all or some of the terms of reference should be lodged by February 11, 2020, with overseas submissions due on February 18, 2020.
Further details about the about the inquiry, including terms of reference, details on how to contribute a submission and, when available, details of public hearings and roundtable discussions, can be obtained from the Committee’s website.