The ACCC and its counterpart competition, consumer protection, and economic regulators from across the Pacific will share information, investigative techniques, and authority best practice, in a newly formed initiative to be called the Pacific Island Network of Competition Consumer and Economic Regulators or PINCCER.
Founding PINCCER national authorities representing the economies of Australia, Cook Islands, Fiji, French Polynesia, Kiribati, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, and Vanuatu, have already set about establishing the network protocols and focus areas.
“We welcome the opportunity that PINCCER provides for the ACCC to work with our Pacific neighbours to help build our collective skills and make our Pacific markets fairer for consumers and traders,” ACCC Chair Gina Cass-Gottlieb said.
The Pacific region is home to several island economies that face common challenges in facilitating fair competition, pricing, and consumer protection. Many of these economies are small and emerging and their authorities are still growing their expertise and resources in these areas.
“The ACCC is particularly keen to assist with agencies’ oversight of markets and regulated sectors in these Pacific economies that may be impacted by various challenges, including having newly established or developing regulatory frameworks,” Ms Cass-Gottlieb said.
Australia has a long history of working with Pacific Island countries and territories under various treaties and agreements. These country level engagements include the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF), the Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations Plus (PACER PLUS), the Pacific Private Sector Development Initiative (PSDI), and Australia’s bilateral arrangements with a number of individual Pacific partners.
PINCCER will contribute to building agency capabilities, strengthening the combined agency voice of competition and consumer protection authorities in Pacific Island smaller economies and providing a focused forum to promote well-functioning markets.
The announcement of PINCCER follows a meeting between the Prime Ministers of Fiji, and Australia in October 2023, in which they welcomed the signing of a renewed and elevated partnership and agreed on the importance of regional unity.
“The ACCC supports a strong and cooperative Pacific region and looks forward to working closely to address shared challenges”, Ms Cass-Gottlieb said.