PACER-Plus is shaping up as an agreement that won’t fit into the Pacific reality, will have weak protections for Pacific businesses and undermines the ability of governments to enact policies to support and nurture vital Pacific industries.
New brief says Regional trade agreement bad for business.
Despite receiving little attention in Australia, efforts to establish a new regional trade agreement are raising eyebrows among Pacific neighbours
Agreement must be development-centered
While Fiji has rejoined the Pacific agreement on closer economic relations (PACER) Plus negotiations after a lapse of more than five years, the road to reaching a mutual agreement has not been easy.
Fourteen Pacific Island Forum countries are currently locked in negotiations with their two largest economic neighbours, Australia and New Zealand, to forge a new regional free trade agreement called ‘PACER Plus’, which supporters believe will boost economic growth in the region.
This is the leaked Draft Trade in Services text from the PACER Plus Intersessional meeting in Port Vila, 31 March - 02 April 2015.
This is the leaked draft chapter on Investment text from the PACER Plus Intersessional meeting in Auckland, 26-28 November 2013.
The Pacific Network on Globalisation have launched their campaign against the regional free trade agreement, known as PACER-Plus.
Pacific civil society organisations, including gender groups, environmental groups and regional non-government groups have called for the immediate suspension of the regional trade negotiations, known as PACER-Plus, and the release of the secret texts under negotiations.
Independent Australian organisations, the Australian Fair Trade and Investment Network and AID/WATCH, have voiced serious concerns about the PACER-Plus Free Trade Agreement currently being negotiated between Australia, New Zealand and Pacific Island Countries.
In the middle of July, Pacific Island Trade Ministers will meet in Samoa with their Australian and New Zealand counterparts to discuss whether or not to expand the negotiations of PACER-Plus to include services and investment, reports the Pacific Network on Globalisation.
Papua New Guinea’s trade Minister, Richard Maru, recently set a cat amongst the pigeons by saying that PNG was not interested in the regional trade negotiations known as PACER-Plus. “We can’t export our taro there, they won’t accept our greens...There’s nothing to be gained from a trade agreement at the moment. ‘We cannot justify the huge amount of resources we expend on such negotiations. They are a complete waste of time.”
The Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat secretary general, Tuiloma Neroni Slade wants the region to intensify and accelerate its efforts towards regional integration.
The Pacific’s Chief Trade Advisor has resigned with a warning that unless Australia and New Zealand act soon to put something of value on the table for the PACER plus trade negotiations, the talks risk falling over.
Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum has questioned the merits of trade agreements that serve to benefit the economically powerful more than developing economies.
Any regional economic agreement that excludes Fiji will be an ineffective instrument for trade and development says Trade Minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.
A number of Australian non government organisation say they are concerned that Australia and New Zealand want to limit the activities of the Pacific-led trade advisory body, the Office of Chief Trade Adviser — also known as OCTA.
The Solomon Islands’ biggest umbrella body for community service organisations on Saturday warned against rushing into PACER-Plus – a free trade agreement proposed between Pacific Island countries, Australia and New Zealand.
“PACER-Plus is the most important economic negotiation that Forum Islands nations will undertake this decade, so you need to get it right.” So says Dr Chris Noonan, Chief Trade Advisor to Forum Islands Countries for the PACER-Plus free trade negotiations.