PALIKIR, Pohnpei—The Government of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) has signed a Hosting Agreement with the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat to facilitate the hosting of a sub-regional Trade Adviser under the Strengthen Pacific Intra-Regional and International Trade (SPIRIT) Project. Funded by the European Union with a budget of 5.75 million Euro (approximately 5.6 million US Dollars at the time of this release), the SPIRIT Project intends to strengthen trade and investment-related institutions with the provision of three Trade Advisers across the subregions of Micronesia, Polynesia, and Melanesia; to coordinate, implement, and
update the Pacific’s Aid-for-Trade Strategy 2020-2025 in each of the Pacific countries who are members of the African, Caribbean, and Pacific Group of States (ACP) in cooperation with the European Union; and the development of a statistical monitoring framework for Regional Economic Integration, including the establishment of a Regional Trade Statistics Database at the Pacific Island Forum Secretariat.
The Trade Adviser to be hosted by the FSM, Mr. Philip Mercado, serves the whole of the Micronesian subregion. His counterparts include Ms. Jillateno Juma, based in Vanuatu and serving the Melanesian subregion, and Mr. Stephen Musubire, based in Tonga and serving the Polynesian subregion.
The SPIRIT Project itself is one of three active projects under the European Union’s Pacific Regional Integration Support (PRISE) initiative, which intends to increase intra-regional trade (i.e. across-the-Pacific trade), and international trade, and increase private sector participation to promote regional economic integration. It is the FSM Government’s view that integrating the FSM’s economy with other Pacific Island Countries will ultimately be of direct benefit to the Nation’s citizens, while also having the effect of strengthening the Pacific Islands Forum in its engagements as a peer to the European Union.
In her remarks, Secretary Akinaga welcomed the specific mandates of the SPIRIT Project in targeting trade-related capacity needs across the Micronesian sub-region. “One of the many challenges that we face out here in Micronesia is having the capacity to develop effective trade and investment legislative frameworks that align with international best practices to provide greater legal certainty for our exporters and investors, establishing or strengthening government institutions in implementing these legal instruments, and building our human capacities to mainstream these into national development strategies, outputs, and outcomes,” Secretary Akinaga said. “The new Trade Adviser to be hosted by the FSM, with service across the Micronesian subregion, will help us to build this capacity and to accomplish these objectives.”