The Council of Ministers of the Government of the Republic of Vanuatu, at its meeting of the 31st August 2017 has decided that Vanuatu can now proceed with the signing of the PACER Plus agreement at the margins of the Pacific Islands Forum Leaders meeting in Apia, Samoa next month.

In agreeing to signing the PACER Plus Agreement, the Government of the Republic of Vanuatu, raised additional issues which in their view remains to be satisfactorily resolved but considers the continued restricted access of commercial trade of kava into the Australian market as inadequate for good normal trade relations and expresses its desire for continued efforts by Australia to remove those unfair trade practices.

The Government of the Republic of Vanuatu also calls for renewed bilateral engagement with Australia and New Zealand to grant visa waiver of Ni-Vanuatu visitors to those countries which will lead to a freer movement of persons as part of the efforts to greater economic integration in the region.

The Government of the Republic of Vanuatu also raised the need for both Australia and New Zealand to increase their development assistance programme to Forum Island Countries, not only through the PACER Plus framework but also for increased bilateral development assistance programmes for FICs and in particular budget support for Vanuatu as it faces adjustment in the years ahead.

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