The Council of Ministers of the Government of Vanuatu, at the meeting on 31st August 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 Vanuatu raised additional issues which in their view remains to be satisfactorily resolved, and considers the continued restricted access of commercial trade of kava into the Australian market as inadequate for good normal trade relations. Vanuatu expresses its desire for continued efforts by Australia to remove those unfair trade practices.
The government also calls for renewed bilateral engagement with Australia and New Zealand to grant visa waiver of ni-Vanuatu visitors to those countries.
The Government of the Republic of Vanuatu also raised the need for both Australia and New Zealand to increase their development assistance program to Forum Island Countries, not only through the PACER Plus framework but also for increased bilateral development assistance programs for FICs and in particular budget support for Vanuatu as it faces adjustment in the years ahead.