Map indicating members of the Pacific Islands Forum (potential Pacific Union).
|-||Total||13,962,549 km2
5,390,970 sq mi
|-||2008 estimate||40 million|
|GDP (nominal)||2012 estimate|
|-||Total||US$ 1.689 trillion|
|-||Per capita||US$ 28,543|
The Pacific Union is a proposed development of the Pacific Islands Forum, suggested in 2003 by a committee of the Australian Senate, into a political and economic intergovernmental community. The union, if formed, will have a common charter, institutions and currency. Although former Prime Minister of Australia John Howard spoke of a Pacific Union whilst in office, his government's emphasis was focused on bilateral relations and agreements with the individual states of the Forum.
The most prominent example of pre-existing regionalism amongst countries of the Pacific Ocean is the Pacific Islands Forum, an intergovernmental organisation that aims to represent the interests of its members and enhance cooperation between them. The Pacific Islands Forum does not have a common charter, institutions or currency.
Closer Economic Relations (CER) free trade agreement between the governments of New Zealand and Australia allow the free trade of most goods and services between the two nations without the 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 use the Australian dollar while the Cook Islands, Tokelau, Nauru (from 25 May 2013) and Niue use the New Zealand Dollar
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/stabilisation operations in Papua New Guinea (in Bougainville), Solomon Islands (2003–present), Nauru (2004–present) and Tonga (2006).
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. The idea's future has become somewhat confused with the Rudd Government's call for an Asia-Pacific Community, which would have a wider membership than a Pacific Union.
- Arab League
- Caribbean Community and Common Market
- Continental union
Articles, editorials and reports
- Engaging our neighbours: Towards a new relationship between Australian and the Pacific Islands
- Beyond Cooperation: Towards an Oceanic Community
- Regionalism in the Pacific: A New Development Strategy
- 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
- 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
- ABC (2006-07-23): Urwin Calls for Pacific Settlement