The ministers have had the idea of such a facility before them for several years as they look to ways to pay for development in the region.
The Forum’s trade commissioner to China, David Morris, was asked by Radio New Zealand’s Don Wiseman if what they have in mind is an agency like a Pacific version of the Asian Development Bank.
“There is a discussion that is happening about looking at the financing capabilities of the region and of course there are significant financial resources that we have in the Pacific Islands region.
“And so there are a range of discussions going on about how we could utilise those financial resources to support economic development.
WISEMAN: But critically the idea being to bring it all together so that you effectively create some sort of a bank?
“I think that is probably a little premature to talk about an institution. I think it is rather the discussion is about looking at all of the resources that exist including pension funds and other resources and thinking about how they can be utilised to drive economic investments and projects in the region and so it is more of a discussion about broader strategy rather than a particular institution.
WISEMAN: Is this the critical issue for the Forum economic ministers?
“I think it is one of the critical issues. Another issue that we have been discussing is the need to think about engaging with China and with the other key economies of the Asian region and how we as a region should be approaching the rise of the Asian economies – their increasing performance in the global economy – and there increasing capacity to help us to develop the Pacific region.
WISEMAN: A corollary of that of course is what is happening in the United States and the sense that there is going to be something of a pull back of funding as far as this region goes.
“Yes, there is a change happening in the world at the moment and of course that change is seeing the increasing importance of China in particular as the country that is leading global growth. It is also an economy that is affecting everybody’s lives really.
“It is a major source of tourists for the world it is a major import market and a major export market as well and so we had a particular discussion about China.” - RNZI