Pacific Union

Pacific Union

The Pacific Union is a proposed political and economic intergovernmental community suggested in 2003 by a committee of the Australian Senate. The committee called for the formation of a Pacific Union composed of the member-states of the Pacific Islands Forum, but with a common charter, institutions and currency. Although the former Prime Minister of Australia, John Howard, spoke of a Pacific Union whilst in power, his government's emphasis was focused on bilateral relations and agreements with the individual states of the Forum.Fact|date=August 2007

Existing integration

There is already a good deal of regional cooperation and integration within the proposed Pacific Union nations. The most prominent example of pre-existing regionalism amongst countries of the Pacific Ocean is the Pacific Islands Forum, an inter-governmental organization which aims to represent the interests of its members and enhance cooperation between them. The Pacific Islands Forum could be seen as a possible precursor organization to a Pacific Union but lacking a common charter, institutions and currency.

Even greater economic integration exists between particular states within the region. Closer Economic Relations (CER) free trade agreement between the governments of New Zealand and Australia allowing the free trade of most goods and services between the two nations without the hindrance of tariff barriers or export incentives. The Melanesian Spearhead Group is a more recent trade treaty governing the four Melanesian states of Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands and recently, Fiji. The nations of Nauru, Kiribati and Tuvalu already use the Australian dollar while the Cook Islands, Tokelau and Niue use the New Zealand Dollar

Apart from purely economic cooperation, regional response to crises has also already been somewhat integrated. In October 2000, national leaders of the Pacific Islands Forum signed the Biketawa Declaration constituting a framework for coordinating response to regional crises leading to New Zealand and Australian military and police forces participating in regional peacekeeping/stabilization operations in Papua New Guinea (in Bougainville), Solomon Islands (2003–present), Nauru (2004–present) and Tonga (2006).

Future prospects

There has been a call from within both the Australian and New Zealand business communities to extend the Closer Economic Relations (CER) Free Trade Agreement to other Pacific Island nations. Moving towards a single market and allowing the free movement of people and goods. Harmonising both the CER and the Pacific Regional Trade Agreement (PARTA) is one possibility of moving towards this goal.

See also

*Caribbean Community
*Continental union
**African Union
**Asian Union
**Central Asian Union
**European Union
**North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)
**South American Union

External links

* [ Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat]
* [ The Pacific Plan]

Articles, Editorials, and Reports

* [ Engaging our neighbours: Towards a new relationship between Australian and the Pacific Islands]
* [ Beyond Cooperation: Towards an Oceanic Community]
* [ Regional Integration in the Pacific]
* [ Regionalism in the Pacific: A New Development Strategy]
* [ Whose Oceania? Contending Visions of Community in Pacific Region-Building]
* [ Australia's Senate Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee (2003-08-12): A Pacific Engaged: Australia’s Relations with Papua New Guinea and the Island States of the South–West Pacific]
* [ ABC (2003-08-12): Senate Calls for Pacific Community to Head Off Regional Crises]
* [ The Age (2003-08-13): Call for EU-Style 'Pacific Community']
* [ ABC (2003-08-18): Australia Floats 'Pacific Union' Idea]
* [ The Age (2003-08-18): Howard Push for Pacific Union]
* [ The Age (2003-08-30): Time to Look at a Pacific Community]
* [ Pacific Magazine (2004-03-01): A EU-Style Club For The Pacific?]
* [ The Age (2004-03-06): Bold Plan for Pacific Unity]
* [ The Age (2004-04-06): Pacific Forum Beckons EU-Style Links]
* [ ABC (2004-04-06): Pacific Plan Expected to Fall Short of Total Union]
* [ The Age (2004-04-07): Pacific Heads Back Region Unity Plan]
* [ Pacific Economic Bulletin (2005 #3): Towards a Pacific Community]
* [ The Age (2005-10-09): Pacific Plan Puts Howard to the Test]
* [ Pacific Magazine (2005-10-17): ADB Calls for Pacific Plan Focus On Governance And Economic Opportunities]
* [ Fiji (2005-11-02): Pacific Leaders Endorse Plan to Strengthen Regional Cooperation]
* [ Labor eHerald (2006-05-04): A Vision of a Pacific Community]
* [ ABC (2006-07-23): Urwin Calls for Pacific Settlement]

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