Pacific Islands / Pacific Forum
For the Pacific Island Countries, PACER Plus represents a squandered opportunity to address the real development needs of the region and a waste of time and significant resources.
There are mixed reactions in the Pacific to a new free trade deal which comes into force in December.
Pacific regional trade and development agreement PACER Plus will enter into force in 60 days now that the Cook Islands has become the eightth country to ratify it.
Barrick Gold Corp has lost a court challenge in Papua New Guinea over rights to a highlands gold mine and intends to appeal to the country’s Supreme Court.
Niue has ratified the regional trade agreement PACER Plus, pushing it closer to implementation.
The Pacific Island Countries (PICs) are taking on disproportionate binding commitments in exchange for false promises of benefits from the regional free trade deal known as PACER-Plus.
What the development assistance arrangement results in, is aid money, tightly controlled by Australia and New Zealand to flow to areas that will make Forum Island Countries uphold their commitments on market access, ultimately benefiting the two metropolitan Parties.
PACER-Plus itself achieved little by way of actual improvements for Pacific Islander workers to access the labour markets of Australia and New Zealand.
The trade deal known as Pacer Plus will have immediate benefits for the Cook Islands when it comes into force later this year, says the Cooks’ deputy prime minister.
In this interview, we discuss the PACER+ trade deal, the post Cotonou talks with the EU and the influence of China’s Belt and Road Initiative in the Pacific region.
The new agreements cover a range of areas, including education, e-commerce, investment, infrastructure and agriculture.
Pacer Plus has been promoted as a hybrid development and trade deal, with the primary benefits going to the nine Pacific countries that have signed the deal.
Despite the failures of the EPA to deliver real development to Pacific countries it looks as though the European Union will once again, through the Post Cotonou Agreement, push for enhanced and undistorted access for European investments to Pacific resources.
China is launching an agricultural training programme for Pacific Island countries to bring their industries in line with Chinese standards.
The concerns held by Pacific communities and some Pacific island governments about the regional free trade agreement known as PACER-Plus are well founded according to new analysis released by the Pacific Network on Globalisation (PANG).
PACER-Plus is a highly problematic FTA containing far too many concessions by Forum Island Countries to Australia and New Zealand, reshaping Pacific Island economies.
The heads of state from Mercosur’s member nations will attend high-level talks with the Pacific Alliance trade bloc.
Samoa and Papua New Guinea will represent the Pacific at the Ministerial level central negotiating for the post-Cotonou agreement.
PACER-Plus will undermine the right of governments to regulate, and see the Pacific bear the burden of binding commitments in the areas of interest to Australia and New Zealand whilst getting little legal commitments in return.
An analyst says New Zealand’s planned trade deal with the Pacific Island nations could be extremely damaging to their economies.