Saturday, February 20, 2010

Dr Christopher Noonan will soon commence as Chief Trade Adviser (CTA) for Forum Island Countries (FICs)


Dr Christopher Noonan will soon commence as Chief Trade Adviser (CTA) for Forum Island Countries (FICs) to support their participation in the regional PACER Plus negotiations.

PACER Plus refers to a proposed comprehensive free trade and economic development agreement that will be negotiated between Australia and New Zealand, and Forum Island Countries.

Dr Noonan has signed the exchange of letters which covers his employment as CTA. He will be leaving his position as Associate Professor and Deputy Head of Department (Commercial Law) at the University of Auckland to take up his appointment as CTA.

"I am pleased that we are now able to move ahead with the work of the Office of the Chief Trade Advisor (OCTA)," said Mr Slade. "The CTA has much important work ahead of him as I believe that PACER Plus will play an important role in furthering regional economic integration and in creating opportunities for economic growth and prosperity in Forum Island Countries."

Among his key tasks, the CTA will be responsible for the establishment of the OCTA, to be based in Port Vila, Vanuatu and assisting the FICs prepare for PACER-Plus discussions and negotiations.

Dr Noonan will commence duties as the CTA in Port Vila by 29 March 2010.

"I feel very honoured to have been appointed by the FICs to the position of CTA," said Dr Noonan. "I am looking forward to working closely with the FICs in what promises to be a challenging role."

Dr Noonan was appointed by the Trade Ministers of Forum Island Countries in Brisbane in October 2009. The initial funding for the OCTA has been provided by the Australian and New Zealand Governments.

To ensure the independence of the OCTA's advice and assistance to FICs, it will operate separately from the Forum Secretariat with a Board of Governors made up of FIC representatives.

The OCTA will provide FICs with the technical assistance necessary to support their engagement in PACER Plus related activities and negotiations.

The decision to commence PACER Plus negotiations was made by Forum Leaders at their meeting in Cairns in August 2009. A Special Forum Trade Ministers Meeting was consequently held in Brisbane in October 2009 which identified a range of issues for priority consideration including trade facilitation, rules of origin, labour mobility and development cooperation.

Mue Bentley Fisher
Communications Officer
Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat
Suva, Fiji.

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