Through increasing trade and investment; providing assistance to strengthen enabling environments, infrastructure, and macroeconomic stability; and continued support for recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
• Conclusion of Negotiations on Economic Assistance Agreement Related to the Tuna Treaty: The United States is following through on its pledge to request from Congress $600 million over ten years in connection with a new Economic Assistance Agreement associated with the South Pacific Tuna Treaty. The U.S. and the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency have concluded negotiations on a new 10-year agreement, and the President has included $60 million for the first year of the agreement in the FY 2024 budget request to Congress. The United States is working on completion of its domestic procedures to conclude the agreement.
• Supporting Economic Growth by Promoting High Quality Business Opportunities in Pacific Islands Countries: The Department of Commerce will lead a U.S. business delegation to Pacific Islands countries in the coming year, complemented by virtual trade promotion events.
The trade mission delegation will seek to bring U.S. company representatives together with host nation officials, business associations, and potential private sector partners, distributors, and licensees to learn about business opportunities in Pacific Islands countries.
Target market sectors will include high-impact government procurements, particularly in seaports, airports, energy, healthcare, and telecommunications sectors.
• Increasing Competitiveness and Economic Inclusion by Bolstering Commercial Cooperation with Pacific Islands Countries: The Department of Commerce has begun the process of engaging interested Pacific Islands countries in discussions on bilateral Memoranda of Commercial Cooperation, aimed at supporting partners in expanding trade and investment with the United States, while improving business climates in the Pacific Islands.
• Technical Assistance for Aviation Security to Support Reopening Borders in the Pacific: Since 2022, the Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) has conducted aviation security oversight visits to Fiji, Samoa, and French Polynesia in support of Pacific border reopening and to ensure the security integrity of the civil aviation sector.
TSA plans to visit Cook Islands and Kiribati in the second half of 2023. Civil aviation authority representatives from Fiji and Samoa have been nominated to attend the Idaho National Lab Industrial Control Systems Cybersecurity Training in June 2023.
TSA, along with the Republic of Korea’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport and the International Civil Aviation Organization, will host a Joint Covert Testing workshop in July 2023, where countries including Solomon Islands and Vanuatu will learn to utilize joint covert testing programs to strengthen global aviation security effectiveness.
• Supporting Health through COVID-19 Vaccines: The United States has provided over 1.3 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to Pacific Islands countries. Through our partnership with COVAX, the United States has donated over 860,000 life-saving doses of the Pfizer vaccine across the Pacific Islands countries. Recent deliveries include the first U.S.-donated pediatric Pfizer doses (19,200) to Kiribati and the first U.S.-donated Tris Pfizer vaccines (70,200) to Solomon Islands.
Through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), we have also provided an additional 476,270 doses to the Freely Associated States of Palau, Federated States of Micronesia, and Republic of the Marshall Islands. USAID and HHS, through the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Administration for Strategic Preparedness and Response (ASPR), are working with partners to ensure these vaccines reach people who need it most and are administered efficiently and safely.
• Deployment of NOAA Ship Rainier to support Pacific Hydrographic Survey Requests: The United States deployed the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) ship Rainier April 30-May 1, 2023, to conduct a hydrographic survey of Kanton Island and its port area per a request from the Kiribati Ministry of Information, Communication, and Transport (MICT).
This is the first-ever, high-resolution multibeam mapping mission conducted of Kanton Island, and the data will be used to improve maritime safety and support new infrastructure projects.
NOAA is working with MICT to develop Kiribati’s first integrated geospatial information framework with additional projects forthcoming.