Trade Agreements

Samoa is a party to/currently negotiating the following Trade Agreements:

NAMETYPESTATUSPREFERENCE FLOW
South Pacific Regional Trade and Economic Co-operation Agreement (SPARTECA)
RegionalIn forceNon-Reciprocal
Pacific Island Countries Trade Agreement (PICTA)Regional(Partially) In forceReciprocal
World Trade Organization (WTO)MultilateralIn forceReciprocal
The African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP) – European Union (EU) Economic Partnership Agreements (EPA)MultilateralNegotiatingReciprocal
Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations (PACER) PlusRegionalNegotiatingReciprocal
South Pacific Regional Trade and Economic Co-operation Agreement (SPARTECA)

Entered into force in 1981. SPARTECA is a non-reciprocal trade agreement under which New Zealand and Australia offer duty-free and unrestricted access to virtually all products originating from developing Forum Island Countries (FICs) subject to Rules of Origin (ROO).
For more information on how to export under SPARTECA, please refer to our Market Access section.

Pacific Island Countries Trade Agreement (PICTA)

Entered into force in April 2003, PICTA is a free trade agreement amongst the 14 Forum Island Countries (FICs) excluding Australia and New Zealand. The aim is to remove tariff on most goods by 2021, excluding alcohol and tobacco related products.

At present, eligible Samoan exports that meet the Rules of Origin (ROO) criteria are accorded preferential duties in Fiji, Cook Islands, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, Niue and Tuvalu. The remaining FICs continue to progress their implementation of PICTA and have yet to announce their readiness to trade under PICTA.

The Rules of Origin Criteria is as follows:-

  1. Wholly produced or obtained in Samoa; and
  2. The final process must take place in Samoa and total expenditures on originating materials; overhead as well as labour cost is not less than 40% of the overall total expenditure for the good.

For more information on PICTA, please click here. For more information on how to export under PICTA please refer to our Market Access section. For the full legal text of the Agreement, please click here.

PICTA Trade in Services

The PICTA Trade in Services negotiations between the fourteen (14) Forum Island Countries commenced in 2007 and was concluded in February 2012. At the Pacific ACP Leaders meeting in August 2012, nine countries including Samoa signed the PICTA Trade in Services Protocol. The Protocol will enter into force once six members from the Forum Islands have ratified the agreement. To date, only Samoa, Nauru, Republic of Marshall Islands and Tuvalu have ratified the Agreement.

For more information on PICTA Trade in Services Protocol, please click here.

World Trade Organization (WTO)

Samoa became the 155th Member of the WTO on 10 May 2012 followed by Vanuatu who became the 157th Member of the WTO on 24 August 2012. This brings the total number of Pacific WTO member countries to six (Fiji, Solomon Islands, PNG, Tonga, Samoa and Vanuatu).

Samoa like any other recently acceded member country to the WTO is obligated to implement its commitments which are contained in its Working Party report. This also included the submission of formal notifications to the WTO.

At present a total of 161 countries are members of the WTO and regular Committee meetings held in Geneva are serviced by the WTO as secretariat.

At the national level, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Trade as focal point for all trade related matters has been using the National Working Committee on Trade Arrangements (NWCTA) chaired by the Deputy Prime Minister to update key stakeholders especially relevant Ministries on all trade agreements including WTO and to raise awareness of what needs to be done to meet these obligations.

Samoa first submitted its interest to become a WTO member in 1998. From there, WTO established a Working Party Committee comprising of WTO members who were interested in the trade regime of Samoa. Over the past 13 years, Samoa concluded bilateral discussions and negotiations with China, New Zealand, Honduras, Australia, Japan, European Union, Ukraine, Canada and the United States of America.

The results of these negotiations were documented in three key documents i.e, Working Party Report, the Schedule on Services concessions and the Schedule on Goods concession.

For more information about Samoa’s involvement in the WTO and access to key documents, please click here.

The Pacific ACP (APCP)–European Union (EU) Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA)

Start of negotiations:                     September 2004

Status:                                                  ongoing

 

Negotiating Parties:

PACP States

Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), Fiji (interim EPA), Kiribati, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea (signed interim EPA), Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI), Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.

 

EU

Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the UK.

 

Background

The Pacific ACP States (PACPS) – European Commission (EC) EPA negotiations commenced on 10th September 2004. PACP Ministers agreed that the EPA would be negotiated as a region with the goal of achieving a comprehensive and development-enhancing EPA that would bring benefits to all PACPS.

Fiji and Papua New Guinea have initialed interim EPAs with the EU in 2007 and signed in 2009 to avoid market disruption. Subsequently, the EU and the Pacific ACP states (including Samoa) held talks on a comprehensive regional (Pacific) EPA in June/July 2013 whereby fisheries (a key issue) was discussed exclusively. Other topics include trade in goods, development cooperation, sustainable development, and rules of origin. Talks continue.

For more information on EPA, please click here.

Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations (PACER) Plus

Pacer Plus is a proposed trade, development and economic cooperation agreement currently negotiated by Forum Island Countries (FICs) with Australia and New Zealand. In 2009 Forum Leaders agreed to commence PACER Plus negotiations. Involved parties seek to promote gradual regional integration in a way that supports the economic development of the FICs and takes into account the differences among the parties.

At the special Forum Trade Ministers’ Meeting in October 2009, Ministers mandated to give priority to the following issues: Rules of Origin; Regional Labour Mobility; Development Assistance; and, Trade Facilitation. Negotiations have since progressed a good deal in these areas, with some of the issues being close to finalization such as the chapter on SPS and TBT.

Following the additional mandate by the Forum Trade Ministers Meeting (Apia, July 2013), discussions have advanced on new priority issues such as Trade in Services, Investment and Trade in Goods.

The Office of the Chief Trade Advisor (OCTA) was also established as the Secretariat to PACER Plus providing administrative and secretarial support to the PACER Plus negotiations, and for meetings involving all Members on PACER Plus matters. In addition, OCTA was tasked with the provision of policy advice and capacity building to Forum Island Countries in relation to PACER Plus.

Negotiations are still ongoing.

For further information on PACER Plus issues, please visit http://www.octapic.org/ and click on an issue of interest under the “Negotiation Issues” tab.

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