Birmingham on December 13 said the Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations, which has now come into force, would strengthen Australia’s ties with its Pacific partners.
The PACER Plus is a regional development-centred trade agreement, covering goods, services and investment.
It is designed to help Pacific island countries become more active partners in regional and global trade, as well as to provide commercial benefit to Australian businesses.
“This trade deal ensures greater market access and lower tariffs across a range of products that will benefit communities, farmers, fishers, businesses and investors in our region,” Birmingham said in a statement.
Foreign Minister Marise Payne said the agreement’s entry into force would also assist the region’s economic recovery from the coronavirus.
Australia, the Cook Islands, Kiribati, Niue, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga and New Zealand are parties to the agreement, which opened for signature in June 2017.
Nauru, Tuvalu and Vanuatu are signatories to the agreement and will become parties to it 60 days after ratifying it.
Gus McCubbing in Melbourne