Agreement Establishing The Pacific Islands ForumHungcp
At the Pacific Islands Forum meeting in Niue from 19 to 20 August 2008, heads of state and government discussed Pacific Plan priorities, including “Fishing, Energy, Trade and Economic Integration, Climate Change and Transport, Information and Communication Technologies, Health, Education and Good Governance.” Heads of state and government also discussed the effects of climate change and adopted the Niue Declaration on Climate Change. The re-establishment of democratic governance in Fiji was discussed, as were the consequences if the transitional government did not meet the deadlines.  Regional support for the Solomon Islands and Naurus was discussed, followed by the debate on radioactive contamination in the Marshall Islands through tests carried out by the US government. Issues relating to the regional institutional framework and developments in the WTO Doha Round were discussed, followed by the debate on national initiatives and the Pacific Infrastructure Facility, launched on 19 August 2008, which will be made available by a AUD 200 million economic circle on a four-year economic circuit to improve infrastructure in Kiribati Samoa, Solomon, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanatuu.  The United Nations has announced that it will work with Samoa to establish an inter-institutional climate change centre to help Pacific island states combat the effects of climate change in the region.  At the 2013 Forum, the Marshall Islands, supported by all other Pacific states, asked the United States for compensation for nuclear tests conducted on the islands in the 1940s and 1950s.   After the trade agreement comes into force, countries commit to abolishing tariffs on most goods by 2021. Since April 2008, the Island Countries Forum has also been negotiating an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the European Union. It is important to note that the PICTA we are discussing here only covers trade in goods. At the Island Leaders Meeting Forum, held on August 28, 2012 in Rarotonga, Cook Islands, nine members signed the Pacific Island Comntries Trade Agreement in Services (PICTA TIS).  A protocol to integrate trade in services and the temporary free movement of individuals has been under negotiation since April 2008 (a more comprehensive approach than GATS 4).  It was not signed by either Palau or the Marshall Islands. All signatory countries have ratified the treaty, with the exception of Micronesia.
In March 2008, six countries announced that domestic agreements had been concluded under the agreement, allowing them to trade under the agreement: Cook Islands, Fiji, Niue, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu.  Both within the Australian and New Zealand business communities, there have been requests to extend the Erc (Closer Economic Relations) to other Pacific Island States, move towards an internal market and allow the free movement of people and goods. A Pacific Union was theorized as the next step in the Forum. An “open skies” policy has been maintained by a number of nations. The Pacific Islands Air Services Agreement or PIASA would allow Member States to give their airlines more access to other Member States. To date, there have been ten signatories, Cook Islands, Kiribati, Nauru, Niue, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu, while only six have ratified the agreement. These six are from Cook Islands, Nauru, Niue, Samoa, Tonga and Vanuatu. From 5 to 7 August 1971, the first meeting of the South Pacific Forum was initiated by New Zealand and was held in Wellington, New Zealand, with participants from the following seven countries: the President of Nauru, the Prime Ministers of Western Samoa, Tonga and Fiji, the Prime Minister of Cook Islands, the Australian Minister of External Regions and the Prime Minister of New Zealand. It was a private and informal debate on a wide range of issues of common interest, focusing on issues that directly affect the daily lives of the islanders of the South Pacific islands, with a particular focus on trade, navigation, tourism and education.