Joint MFAI and BTIB Media Release: The Cook Islands to review National Trade Policy Framework

JThe Cook Islands to review National Trade Policy Framework
Photo credit: CI News & Matson South Pacific

The Cook Islands Government is reviewing and updating the National Trade Policy, an instrument aimed at promoting the country’s economic development. The exercise will be coordinated by the Business Trade and Investment Board (BTIB) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration (MFAI).  The Government will be assisted in the review process through the Strengthening Pacific Intra-Regional and International Trade Project (SPIRIT), funded by the European Union (EU) and managed by the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS).

The overall objective of the undertaking is to support the integration of the Cook Islands into the regional and global economy by reviewing, refreshing, and updating the Cook Islands 2015 Trade Policy Framework (TPF).  The revised policy will be supported by a 5-year implementation plan identifying further activities and measures to create a conducive policy environment to foster Cook Islands trade and support a productive private sector. In the coming months close consultations with stakeholders from Government, private sector, and relevant civil society, both on Rarotonga and in the Pa Enua will commence. 

“The importance of trade has been stressed in national policies including the Economic Development Strategy 2030 and the 2023 National Security Policy. In our post-COVID environment, this initiative affords the Cook Islands an opportunity to review its trade priorities to ensure they support private sector development, strengthen, and diversify our economy for the benefit of all our people in the Cook Islands” said Secretary of Foreign Affairs and Immigration (MFAI), Tepaeru Herrmann. 

Repeta Puna, Chief Executive Officer of the Business Trade, and Investment Board (BTIB) acknowledged the partnership with the European Union through the SPIRIT Project for granting approval for the implementation of this project during the current fiscal year. “After a considerable period in development, BTIB is thrilled that this project is now underway. One of the key functions at the Business Trade and Investment Board is to facilitate, coordinate and promote trade to, from and within the Cook Islands. To fulfil this role effectively, it is crucial to have a guiding policy and accompanying implementation plan that directs these efforts”.

BTIB and MFAI will collaborate closely to ensure the incorporation of various perspectives from government, the private sector, and communities. This collaborative approach aims to ensure that the new and revised Trade Policy encapsulates the entirety of views held by the Cook Islands people regarding trade and trade-related issues and is oriented towards meeting their needs.

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