Papua New Guinea’s trade treaties


Papua New Guinea is party to a number of advantageous trade agreements that give its exports preferential access to markets all over the world. Here’s a brief summary.

Papua New Guinea–European Union Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA)

PNG signed an interim EPA with the EU in 2009, which was ratified by the EU in early 2011 and by PNG in mid-2011. This bilateral agreement provides free market access for PNG exports to the EU and simplified Rules of Origin for processed fish. PNG, together with other Pacific ACP States, is in the process of negotiating for a comprehensive EPA with the EU. The Region aims to conclude negotiations at the end of 2012.

The South Pacific Agreement on Trade and Economic Cooperation (SPARTECA)

SPARTECA provides duty-free market access for PNG (and other Pacific Forum countries) exports into Australia and New Zealand.

The Pacific Island Countries’ Trade Agreement (PICTA)

PICTA is a trade agreement among the 14 Pacific Forum Island Countries that became operational on 1 January 2007. PNG is a party to PICTA and is currently in the process of completing the remaining domestic arrangements to announce their readiness to trade under PICTA. Parties are currently in the final stage of negotiations on PICTA Trade in Services, following which the PICTA Temporary Movement of Natural Persons (TMNP) Scheme would then be considered.

The Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations (PACER)

PACER is a framework agreement on trade and economic cooperation between the countries of the Pacific Islands Forum, including Australia and New Zealand. PACER is not a trade agreement but aims to promote greater regional integration through trade facilitation and cooperation with a view to commence negotiations in the future.

The Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations Plus (PACER Plus)

PACER Plus negotiations were launched in August 2009. PNG, together with 12 other Pacific Forum Island Countries, is negotiating PACER Plus with Australia and New Zealand. The aim of the negotiations is to go beyond a conventional free trade agreement to craft an agreement that would promote sustainable growth in the Forum Island Countries.

PNG and Australia Trade and Commercial Relations Agreement (PATCRA)

PATCRA allows duty free access for PNG products into Australia.

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Melanesian Spearhead Group Trade Agreement (MSGTA)

Members: Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and Fiji

The MSGTA facilitates free trade, with some exemptions, between PNG and its Melanesian neighbours. The Agreement is currently undergoing a review. The Group has also recently established a Skills Movement Scheme (SMS) to facilitate movement of workers within the sub-region, with implementation expected to start in 2012.

Research conducted by Julia Tijaja

First published in Made in PNG 2012

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