There’s been a call for more time to be given to Pacific civil society organisations and the private sector to assess the proposed regional free trade deal known as PACER Plus.
Tuvalu’s cabinet has agreed to sign the PACER-Plus regional trade agreement following a two-day national consultation last week.
As released by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade of New Zealand
Dozens of civil society groups in the Pacific have reiterated their criticism of the PACER Plus trade deal, and said it is likely to fail the people of the Pacific.
The PACER Plus Trade Agreement will be signed by 14 Pacific Island countries including Australia and New Zealand on June 14 in Nuku’alofa, Tonga.
One of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s most insightful, if low key, foreign policy initiatives was to work to deepen relations with more than a dozen island nations of Oceania.
But 14-nation deal may be largely symbolic without Fiji and Papua New Guinea.
A new guide allows Pacific Islanders to better understand the impacts of the recently concluded and controversial regional Free Trade Agreement, known as PACER-Plus.
Fiji’s trade minister Faiyaz Koya says Fiji will approach Australia after missing out on the conclusion of the PACER Plus talks.
There were promises that the agreement would be for the benefit of the Pacific. But it has been shaped more by the advantages to Australia and New Zealand exporters than the aspirations of the Pacific’s people.
Fiji did not pull out of the PACER Plus trade negotiations. It had been excluded.
PNG and Fiji’s rejection shows that the agreement is heavily skewed towards the interests of Australia and New Zealand - despite early rhetoric that the agreement was about development needs.
The deal could be signed as early as April and without the two biggest Pacific Island economies, PNG and Fiji.
The Minerals Council of Australia has called on the Government to pursue further trade liberalization through bilateral and regional trading agreements.
Pacific Island countries are expected to sign the proposed regional trade deal called PACER Plus next month.
Fiji has reportedly withdrawn from negotiations for the proposed PACER-Plus regional free trade agreement.
The negotiations are said to offer an opportunity to help Pacific Islands Forum countries benefit from enhanced regional trade and economic integration.
Trade ministers from Pacific Island Forum countries including Australia and New Zealand gathered to try to sign off on the negotiations which have been going on for more than 8 years.
Signed by 55 Pacific civil society organisations and over 200 individuals, the petition calls for no conclusion to be made on PACER-Plus until all the texts have been released and there has been an independent social impact assessment of the proposed deal.
Civil society groups, trade unions, church groups, environmentalists, gender activists and many more are calling for Ministers to make no decision on PACER-Plus — a free trade agreement between Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands — until there has been a proper social impact assessment and mandate from the Pacific people who are most likely to be affected.