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Review of the Current Regional Trade and Integration Initiatives, including the PICTA and the EPA - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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TRINNEX - OPPORTUNITIES IN THE PACIFIC TRADE, INVESTMENT and TOURISM SUPPLY CHAIN ” 29-31 August 2010 The Melanesian Hotel, Port Vila, Vanuatu. Review of the Current Regional Trade and Integration Initiatives, including the PICTA and the EPA. Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat. Background

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Review of the Current Regional Trade and Integration Initiatives, including the PICTA and the EPA

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29-31 August 2010

The Melanesian Hotel, Port Vila, Vanuatu

Review of the Current Regional Trade and Integration Initiatives, including the PICTA and the EPA

Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat


  • On 23 June 2000, African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) States and the European Union (EU) gathered in Cotonou, Benin, to sign the ACP-EU Partnership Agreement, commonly referred to as the ‘Cotonou Agreement’.

  • The Agreement, which replaced the Lomé IV Convention, was historic in a number of respects.

  • One of the ‘pillars’ of the new Agreement, for example, was an innovative economic and trade cooperation framework aimed at establishing new trade agreements leading to liberalisation of trade between parties to the Agreement and including co-operation in a wide range of trade-related areas.

The EU has been negotiating EPAs with the ACP States since September 2002.

Negotiations in the PACP region commenced in 2004.

EPA to be negotiated must be “instruments for development” furthering poverty reduction, sustainable development, regional integration and integration into the world economy.

Developments in the PACP-EU EPA Negotiations

Negotiations in 2008

  • dedicated to completing the EPA negotiations between the EU and the PACPS (Fiji and PNG), with a view to sign, notify to the WTO, and start the ratification process of the interim agreement.

  • PACPS suspended negotiations on services and proposed the inclusion of a rendezvous clause

  • Trade-related areas such competition, environment and social aspects - not subject to dispute settlement procedures.

  • the focus be on building capacity and developing the necessary institutional and regulatory environment in the PACPS in these areas.

Signing of the IEPA by PNG and Fiji

  • PNG and Fiji also signed the IEPA on 30 July and 1 December 2009 respectively.

  • PNG has notified the EC that it has provisionally applied the agreement, while Fiji is still in the process of doing so.

  • The Pacific IEPA was submitted by the European Council to the European Parliament for their assent (to be formally passed) in February 2010

    • September, October seating

    • Decision expected in December

PICTA (trade in goods)

  • PICTA was opened for signature on 18 August 2001 and came into force on 13 April 2003.

  • PICTA became operational on 1 January 2007, as endorsed by the FIC Trade Ministers in June 2006.

  • Apart from the seven FICs that have announced readiness to trade under PICTA, Kiribati, Nauru, PNG and Tonga have completed their notification requirements under PICTA but are yet to complete the remaining domestic arrangements before announcing their readiness to trade under PICTA.

  • FSM has signed the Agreement but yet to accede. Palau and the Republic of the Marshall Islands are yet to become parties to PICTA.

  • Strengthen regional economic integration-Pacific Plan

  • Strengthen negotiating positions with trading partners

  • Promote FICs integration into the world economy

  • Meet skills shortages from within region

  • Retain expertise within FICs

  • Retain remittances within FICs

PICTA Temporary Movement of Natural Persons (TMNP Scheme)Why a TMNP Scheme?

The TMNP Scheme should facilitate movement of professionals and skilled workers within the FICs

Purpose of the TMNP Scheme

1.easy to administer, utilising existing systems

2.easy to use; in particular it must offer an easier route into employment in FICs than the current system

3.economical for those who participate in it

Central to the scheme’s design must be the ‘customer experience’ of the prospective temporary worker.

Note: the scheme does not replace the existing work

work permits regime

The FIC TMNP Scheme therefore should be:

Tier 1

Professionals who have aminimum of a bachelors degree from a recognised university with a minimum of 3 years of work experience

Tier 2

Semi-skilled /trades professionals who have a minimum of diploma or certificate with a minimum of resp. 3 and 5 yeaers of work experience

Defining the Tiers


Tier 1

  • Open to FIC nationals, citizens or FIC nationals regardless of whether or not the nationals are resident in a FIC and to FIC nationals who have rights of permanent residency in a FIC who are not resident in a FIC

    [ie. Passport holders and PRs]

    No quota restriction

Tier 2

as Tier 1

Subject to a quota

As a first step to progress implementation of

the TMNP Scheme, FICs to:

  • Recognise existing practices in FICs;

  • List and exchange overseas universities and training institutions currently recognised by FICs;

  • Exchange qualification requirements of professionals and semi-skilled /trades professionals currently granted permits to work in FICs;

    While -

  • Reaching consensus on regional technical institutions and universities that should be accorded due recognition by FICs;

Qualification Recognition

Minimum Quotas

Annual minimum quota of Tier 2 workers


  • By establishing minimum quota all FICs are confirming their commitment to PICTA and the TMNP scheme

  • Ideally, quotas should be based on labour market data

  • Initially at least, quota should avoid a perceived impact on domestic labour market

  • Number of TMNP workers should be manageable for national institutions

Quota calculations – conclusions:

  • The labour market provides the best information to determine minimum quota for TMNP Tier 2 workers

  • An ‘across the board’ ratio for TMNP workers for all FICs is skewed towards the smallest and the largest FICs, and may pose implementation constraints in the latter, at least initially.

  • Determining minimum TMNP quota allows any FIC to hire more workers as needed.

FIC Workforce Categories and Suggested Minimum Tier 2 Quota

Niue, Tuvalu, Nauru (<5,000)……………………………20 (2.58-0.96 %)

Cook Islands, Palau (5,000-10,000)……………………30 (0.31-0.51 %)

RMI, Kiribati, FSM, Tonga, Samoa (10,000-50,000)…40 (0.14-0.39 %)

Solomon Islands, Vanuatu (50,000-100,000)..………50 (0.07-0.09 %)

Fiji (100,000-500,000)……………………………………250 (0.04 %)

Papua New Guinea (>500,000).…………………………500 (0.02 %)

FIC Total TMNP allocation………………………………1020 (0.07 %)

Minimum quota calculation

TMNP Certification



Use of a Card or Certificate


Duration of employment contract; max 3 yrs


Fees confined to administrative costs only

Visa and Bonds


Entry visa (called a PICTA TMNP Visa) upon arrival in host country

The PICTA TMNP Visa also serves as a work permit

Bonds (cost of a return air ticket) to be paid by employers to undertake responsibility for ensuring the employee complies with their immigration status.

Responsibilities of the home country

Ensure workers understand their rights and the restrictions placed on them

Maintain an effective and secure system for certifying applicants

Required action- designated authority in each FIC to put in place measures to address this during processing and vetting of applicants.

Responsibilities of the host country

effective regulation of the work environment

decent pay and work conditions relative to local workers

basic human rights are respected

penalising employers as appropriate

Required action- FICs to put in place appropriate laws and regulations


Responsibilities of the employer to

  • ensure basic human rights of employees are respected

  • provide decent wages and working conditions

  • provide a written contract,

  • maintain good relations with the hosting government

  • inform host government if workers abscond

  • undertake document checks when recruiting to ensure an

    applicant is eligible to work

  • pay a bond for employees under the scheme.

    Action required-FIC to put in place measures to ensure employer

    compliance. Employers responsible for employees and subjected to

    penalties if they breach the responsibilities


Responsibilities of the employee

provide accurate and honest the information required

abide by the terms of the scheme, their contract of employment, and the laws of the host country.

Action required-laws and regulations put in place to regulate

TMNP employees and penalise employees that breach the

conditions of TMNP employment


  • Identify main designated ministry/department to drive the scheme- eg Ministry for Trade

  • Identify roles of other departments-immigration, labour, health, education, home affairs etc.

    Actions required

  • Form a national TMNP committee

  • Designate national agency to oversee the TMNP scheme

  • Identify “designated entity” for application process

  • Identify other ministries to oversee various TMNP aspects

National Stakeholders

Regional oversight is required to:

regional focal point for the scheme-ease of reference and information

Management of the scheme

provide a registry for those who participate

inspect, monitor and advise on country processes for the proposed PICTA TMNP Scheme

Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat recommended to provide regional oversight

Action required -FICs to consider the practicalities of utilising existing regional agencies such as PIFS to provide oversight and as a registry for the scheme

Regional Oversight

Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat

Suggested role:

Lead regional management role for the scheme

Provide central registry

Maintain up to date information on the scheme

Maintain website on the scheme

Regional Stakeholders

South Pacific Board of Educational Assessment

Suggested role:

  • Act as Registry for national, regional, international

    benchmarks for occupations

  • Develop comprehensive list of accredited education and technical institutes

  • Assess qualifications of individuals in the scheme

  • Collaborate with designated national authorities on implementation of the scheme

Regional Stakeholders

Pacific Immigration Directors Conference

Suggested role:

  • Provide technical assistance to FICs Immigration Departments

  • Take on advisory role on the TMNP Scheme

  • Facilitate implementation of the scheme

Regional Stakeholders

Tier 1 Implementation Process

Tier 2 Implementation Process

  • Form working committee for implementation

  • Identify Lead Ministry managing the scheme

  • Identify department handling TMNP applications and operational aspects

  • Review and amend laws and regulations to ensure compliance with TMNP scheme

What needs to be done?Implementation issues – National level

  • Form regional working group to oversee implementation of the Scheme

  • Identify Management Agency for TMNP Scheme

  • Identify Supporting Agencies

  • Facilitate MRAs negotiations (initially based on FICs consensus on existing practices)

  • Agree on an implementation timeframe (incl. deadline for preliminary work, eg. legislation reforms, MRAs, human rights compliance etc)

What needs to be done?Implementation issues – Regional level

Thank you

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