New Caledonia represented in Parliament at the Round table on "Trade and investment between Australia and the Pacific island countries"
On 4 September, at Parliament House, the Australian Parliament’s Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade (JSCFADT) is organising a roundtable with High Commissioners and diplomatic representatives of Pacific island countries for its inquiry into Australia’s trade, defence and foreign affairs relationships. The members of the Parliament and the senators want to examine :
- the nature of Australia’s existing trade and investment relationships with Pacific island countries ;
- the opportunities to strengthen trade and investment links between Australia and Pacific island countries ;
- the barriers and impediments to trade and investment between Australia and Pacific island countries and how they can be mitigated.
Amongst 52 other contributions, a submission from the Government of New Caledonia, represented in Australia by the New Caledonia Delegation based at the Embassy of France in Canberra, has been lodged to the Australian Parliamentary inquiry. New Caledonia’s submission encompasses its specific institutional framework and economy, and focuses on its comparative advantages to seize new opportunities to strengthen its cooperation with Australia.
New Caledonia boasts a triple identity as an Overseas country of France, an Overseas country and territory (OCT) of the European Union, and a Territory of the Pacific, as a full member to the Pacific Islands Forum since 2016.
Under the Noumea Accord, which provides the constitutional framework under which New Caledonia is governed, competences previously held by France are irreversibly transferred to New Caledonia, through an ongoing process that started in 1999. Under the terms of the Nouméa Accord, following up on the 2018 referendum on self-determination, a second referendum will be called for on October 4.
External relations, as provided for in the Nouméa Accord, is a competence shared between the governments of France and New Caledonia. Since 2012, New Caledonia has embarked on a strengthened integration process within its regional environment. In January 2019, the appointment of the first “Official Representative of New Caledonia to Australia” preceded that of four others, now posted in New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Fiji and Vanuatu.
New Caledonia is a member of the Pacific Community (SPC), the South Pacific Regional Environment Program (SPREP) and the South Pacific Tourism Organisation (SPTO). New Caledonia is also an associate member of the International Organisation of La Francophonie (IOF), an associate member of the UNESCO, and has a non-voting seat on the World Health Organization Western Pacific Regional Committee.
New Caledonia’s GDP per capita ranks third after Australia and New Zealand. New Caledonia benefits from extensive nickel resources and reserves (25% of the world’s resources) and from financial transfers from France (14% GDP). It has levels of development and infrastructure of a developed country (HDI of 0.8).
To boost New Caledonia’s economy, as announced during the Hon. Christopher GYGES’s visit to Australia (March 2-6, 2020), Minister in charge of the economy, foreign trade, taxation and energy, the Government wants to attract foreign investors (Choose New Caledonia investment flyer). Existing and potential areas of bilateral cooperation include mining, agriculture, forestry, marine industries, blue economy and renewable energy.