Background

A new U.S.-Pacific Island Partnership announced Sept. 29 by the Biden administration includes a number of trade-related initiatives.

The partnership aims to encourage economic growth in the region; build U.S. capacity (e.g., by expanding the number of federal facilities, officers, and programs active in the area); strengthen coordination with allies and partners on issues like economic development and resilience; aid efforts to address climate challenges, including through sustainable infrastructure; improve digital connectivity; and enhance maritime security and protection.

As part of these efforts, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative has announced the following actions.

- The U.S. plans to establish by the end of 2022 a trade and investment dialogue with the Pacific Islands to promote increased trade flows, address market barriers, and target economic, investment, and market access needs in 2023. 

- USTR has directed the International Trade Commission to conduct a detailed analysis identifying (1) potential challenges and opportunities for facilitating trade and investment with the Pacific Islands and (2) which sectors of Pacific Island economies may have the greatest potential for increased U.S. trade and investment. USTR will use this research to inform policy-making that strengthens the bilateral trade relationship.

- The U.S. will work with Pacific Island states to explore ways to maximize utilization of the Generalized System of Preferences if and when it is reauthorized by Congress. For example, the U.S. may consider designating eligible members of the Pacific Islands Forum as a regional association for GSP purposes, which has the potential to further integrate regional supply chains and promote enhanced access to the U.S. market for developing Pacific Islands states.

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