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Why ’free trade’ hits Pacific people (PMC)

Pacific Media Centre (AUT) | May 23, 2013

Why ’free trade’ hits Pacific people (PMC)

Pacific leaders have overwhelmingly rejected a push from the World Bank and New Zealand to free up trade and loosen regulations in the region.

About 60 delegates from 18 countries heard World Bank economist Tim Bulman and New Zealand Finance Minister Bill English argue for higher economic growth and smaller governments, during the Pacific Parliamentary and Political Leaders Forum in Wellington on April 18-22.

But a majority of the leaders — representing governments, oppositions and NGOs — have committed themselves to sustainable development over economic growth and to sound and balanced governance over more severe austerity measures.

For Gary Juffa — the Governor of Papua New Guinea’s Oro province and one of the region’s most outspoken critics of free trade — neoliberalism is a hard pill to swallow.

He said that "a few selfish and greedy people" had caused the financial crisis, and those pushing free trade in the Pacific came from wealthy protected economies in the west.

Reporter/producer: Michael Sergel of Asia-Pacific Journalism for the Pacific Media Centre. See linked story:

 source: AUT