The Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations (PACER) Plus is a regional free trade agreement that covers trade in goods and services, investment, customs procedures, rules of origin, transparency, movement of natural persons, and development and economic cooperation. It also includes mechanisms for dispute settlement. The agreement is associated with a labour mobility arrangement for the temporary movement of workers among the signatory countries. It builds on existing trade agreements, namely the 1981 South Pacific Regional Trade and Economic Cooperation Agreement and the original 2001 PACER agreement. The PACER Plus negotiations commenced in 2009 and concluded in 2017. Nine Pacific island countries (9PICs) – Kiribati, Nauru, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, the Cook Islands and Niue – together with two developed countries (Australia and New Zealand) have signed the agreement, which will enter into force 60 days after eight parties have ratified it. Four of the nine developing country parties – Kiribati, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu – are categorized as least-developed countries (LDCs) due to their low gross national income, weak human assets, and high degree of economic vulnerability. Samoa graduated from the LDC category in 2014. Fiji and Papua New Guinea, two of the largest Pacific island countries (PICs), have opted out of the negotiations.

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