Technical barriers to trade
Component 4: Technical Regulations, Standards and Conformity Assessment Procedures (TBT)
Support joint efforts in the fields of standards, technical regulations and conformity assessment procedures, assist in promoting mutual understanding of each Party’s STRCAP measures, and strengthen information exchange and cooperation among the Parties.
- The maintenance of measures that are trade facilitative and do not create unnecessary obstacles to trade
- Enhanced transparency and mutual understanding of each Participant’s technical regulations, standards and conformity assessment procedures
- A strong regional information exchange and cooperation (between and among the Participants) in the areas of technical regulations, standards and conformity assessment procedures
- Good practice in regulation and good practice in the preparation, adoption and application of standards by standard-setting bodies in the territory of each Participant.
The PACER Plus agreements fundamental aim is to reduces barriers to business activities and growth whilst taking into account the significant differences in the sizes and level of development between country partners and the Pacific Island nations.
Reductions in tariffs is critical to this goal with Australia and New Zealand committing to immediately reduce tariffs to zero when doing business with partnering states.
Pacific Island nations also have a commitment to this goal over a 25-year period, with each nation varying its levels of reductions dependent on their circumstance.
The Agreement gives Pacific island nations the ability to source inputs from a various range of countries whilst still qualifying for duty-free entry to Australia and New Zealand. Australia and New Zealand will also assist Pacific island countries upgrade their sanitary and phytosanitary capabilities to meet a greater quality of standards.
From this increased quality standards, it will provide Pacific Island nations the capabilities to reach regional and global markets for products. Attempts at modernizing customs procedures through the Pacer Plus Agreement will further facilitate trade by reducing border costs. Consumers will have access to higher quality goods at a more affordable price, with producers and manufacturers having more access to cheaper inputs enhancing competitiveness.
Most-Favoured Nation (MFN)
Through the PACER Plus Agreement is the requirement of all members to extend, immediately and unconditionally the same treatment provided to all non-parties. MFN tariff treatment provides a guarantee of non-discrimination when an FTA partner excludes some goods from liberalisation or has yet to complete its scheduled liberalisation and negotiates an FTA with a third country with liberalisation commitments or faster liberalisation in relation to those goods.
This means that any improvement on deals within party member states will then be benefited throughout all participating members. Should one nation negotiate a free trade agreement, it will then have the accessible benefits for all other member states.
PACER Plus will provide flexibility to members on when they undertake the scheduled tariff reductions and a variety of safeguards. This is based on each countries varying level of resources, geographical isolation and vulnerability to natural disasters. Ways in which flexibility is shown:
- Nations can negotiate their commitments through provisions for compensated modification or withdrawal of tariff concessions if they are experiencing difficulties implementing them.
- Pacific island countries can apply a transitional safeguard if a sudden influx of imports causes or threatens serious injury when tariffs are reduced.
- Pacific island nations can pause their tariffs and even temporarily raise them for the purpose of meeting industry development .
All nations entering into the Agreement should provide clear information to businesses trading throughout the Pacific. Each member state should:
- Publish all laws, regulations, judicial decisions and administrative rulings that affect trade, all international trade agreements, and any new impost, restriction or prohibition on imports.
- Administer all such measures in a uniform, impartial and reasonable manner.
- Exchange information with other members on all rates of duty, all fees, and charges, and new or modified import licensing procedures.
- Exchange and publish up-to-date information on these matters.
- Establish contact points to transmit and receive requests and notifications from members, as well as facilitate requests for information and for technical discussions on measures affecting trade.
The outcome of all these provisions will provide a dynamic area that looks to benefit from laid out provisions. States will enjoy a higher quality of goods, leading to new market access and generating competitiveness on the global scale.
The MFN benefits the system holistically giving each partner access to all benefits acquired. With flexibility giving an equitable share of obligations dependent on each partners ability to meet requirements.
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