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Thursday, 13 September 2018
Page: 6292


Senator REYNOLDS (Western AustraliaAssistant Minister for Home Affairs) (10:40): The short answer is yes. Should the Federated States of Micronesia, Palau and the Republic of the Marshall Islands not sign PACER Plus before it enters into force, they will be able to accede to the agreement as per provision 9 of article 15, which covers accession. The Federated States of Micronesia, Palau and the Republic of Marshall Islands already have full suites of market access schedules in the PACER Plus legal text. This would significantly expedite their accession to PACER Plus should they decide to do so, but we would very much prefer the Federated States of Micronesia, Palau and the Republic of Marshall Islands to sign PACER Plus as soon as possible so they can start to benefit from the agreement as soon as possible and also access the readiness package that is being made available as part of this agreement.

In relation to French Polynesia and New Caledonia, they joined the Pacific Islands Forum as full members last year. As such, we would also welcome their accession to PACER Plus should they so decide. We would be pleased to see them both join PACER Plus because both nations have much to offer the other nations in that agreement. But also I believe they have much on offer from the agreement with greater economic engagement with other nations in their region. But, as with other new parties, their participation would require French Polynesia and New Caledonia to take an initial market access offer to actually commence the negotiations. We will continue to engage with both countries, should they so desire, on the PACER Plus arrangements.