WASHINGTON – Deputy Assistant United States Trade Representative Colette Morgan led the first-ever Senior Officials Meeting of the United States-Pacific Islands Trade and Investment Dialogue on Monday, February 27. This Dialogue and related meetings are a key deliverable from the Pacific Island Countries Leaders’ Summit in September 2022.
The meeting included broad U.S. interagency participation, including representatives from the U.S. Departments of State, Agriculture, and Commerce. The Senior Officials Meeting also included representatives from the United States Trade and Development Agency (USTDA), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Department of Transportation, and the Development Finance Corporation, who discussed their ongoing work in the Pacific Islands region.
During the Senior Officials Meeting, the United States also shared how Pacific Island economies can maximize utilization of the U.S. Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) program, subject to Congressional reauthorization. One such action would include considering designating eligible members of the Pacific Islands Forum as a regional association for the GSP program. A GSP regional designation has the potential to further integrate regional supply chains and promote enhanced access to the U.S. market for the developing Pacific Islands states.
The Senior Officials Meeting for the Dialogue was co-chaired by the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF), and included government representatives from Australia, the Cook Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, French Polynesia, Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, Nauru, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, the Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu. The PIF members shared their respective trade and investment priorities and discussed how the United States can support those goals.
The United States and the Pacific Islands agreed to a number of follow-up items, which will shape further trade and investment discussions in preparation for the United States-Pacific Islands Trade and Investment Dialogue later this year.