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Aust Denies Claims Of Using Aid To Gain Market Access

Aust Denies Claims Of Using Aid To Gain Market Access
The Greens spokesperson for International aid and development Senator Lee Rhiannon.
October 02
10:45 2015

The Australian government has rejected claims made by The Greens that aid is being used against Pacific countries with weak voluntary commitments made under PACER-Plus.

At the same time it demands market access for Australian companies.

The Greens are calling on the Australian government to end negotiations and undertake necessary social and environmental impacts.

This is after a leak from the Pacific free trade talks.

A draft chapter titled, ‘Development and Economic Co-operation’, from the regional free trade agreement known as PACER-Plus was leaked.

The leaked material reveals that, “Australia is using its aid programme against Pacific nations, offering only weak voluntary commitments under PACER-Plus whilst demanding ever growing market access for Australian companies,” said The Greens spokesperson for International aid and development Senator Lee Rhiannon.

Senator Rhiannon said: “The proposal the government is pushing ensures Australia has control over decisions about local and development and limits the amount of aid assistance provided.

“The draft chapter contains proposals by Australia that would limit the scope of funding assistance to only implementing commitments under PACER-Plus

“This is an attempt by Australia to decide what projects are in the interests of the Pacific, and attempts to lower the level of financial assistance by asking Pacific nations to also fund the projects.

“If Australia has ever been genuine about supporting the Pacific through its overseas development programmes it would start by scrapping a development nightmare like PACER-Plus and listening to the needs of the Pacific Islands.”

However the Australian Government rejects the above allegation.

A spokesperson from the Australian government said: “Australia’s primary objective in negotiating PACER-Plus is to create a trade agreement that will improve the economic growth prospects of Pacific island countries and foster greater regional economic integration and stability.”

“PACER Plus, by improving reciprocal market access, rules and regulations, transparency and more accessible due process, will help modernise economies across the Pacific, attract investment into new areas and spur private-sector led growth,” the spokesperson said.

Aust, NZ and Pacific island countries will next meet in Melbourne.

Feedback: farisha.ahmed@fijisun.com.fj

 

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