Pacific Network on Globalisation (PANG) | 26 February 2020
PACER-Plus development assistance analysis: No new money but still with strings attached
Despite excluding over 85% of the Pacific Islands economies, PACER-Plus continues to be promoted as a development agreement supporting regionalism. With four countries having completed ratification it is more important than ever to look through the rhetoric and see that even the supposed ’benefit’ chapters of PACER-Plus for the Pacific offers little of value.
Proponents frequently refer to PACER-Plus as a trade and development agreement, the inclusion of the Development and Economic Cooperation Arrangement was seen as a large part of the ’development’ plus rhetoric. However, what the Arrangement results in, is aid money, tightly controlled by Australia and New Zealand to flow to areas that will make Forum Island Countries (FICs) uphold their commitments on market access, ultimately benefiting the two metropolitan Parties. As Australia’s then Minister for International Development stated in regards to its Aid programs “we owe it to the taxpayers to ensure that we are spending our aid money in a way that provides a direct benefit to them”.
Read the full analysis (pdf)