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Potential Members of a Pacific Union
Potential Member states
Area
 -  Total 13,962,549 km2 
5,390,970 sq mi 
GDP (PPP)  estimate
 -  Total $ billion 
 -  Per capita
Currency

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 the 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.

Contents

Existing integration

The most prominent example of pre-existing regionalism amongst countries of the Pacific Ocean is the Pacific Islands Forum, an inter-governmental organization which aims to represent the interests of its members and enhance cooperation between them. The Pacific Islands Forum does not have a common charter, institutions and 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 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).

Future prospects

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. In the past, Australasia has been used as a name for combined Australia and New Zealand sporting teams, such as the Olympic Games of 1908 and 1912. The idea's future has become somewhat confused with the Rudd Government's call for an Asia-Pacific Community [1] which would have a wider membership than a Pacific Union.

Australasian Olympic Flag

See also

References

External links

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