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NZ Trade Minister Agrees To Help Iron Out PACER Plus Redline Issues

NZ Trade Minister Agrees To Help Iron Out PACER Plus Redline Issues
Minister for Industry, Trade and Tourism Faiyaz Siddiq Koya and the New Zealand Minister for Trade, Todd McClay, during their meeting on Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations (PACER) Plus at The Westin Resort and Spa in Denarau yesterday. Photo: WAISEA NASOKIA
May 06
10:44 2016


New Zealand Trade Minister, Todd McClay, yesterday discussed ways to look into Fiji’s concerns over PACER Plus.

Our Minister for Industry, Trade and Tourism, Faiyaz Siddiq Koya, following the meeting with Mr McClay, indicated the two countries were in agreement to iron out the redline issues.

PACER Plus is a planned regional trade and economic integration agreement between all members of the Pacific Islands Forum and Australia and New Zealand.

Fiji has previously raised concerns over a number of issues over PACER Plus negotiations and stressed it is not a traditional free trade agreement but rather a development agreement.

“In short, the Minister (McClay) and I have the same opinion to resolve the issues as soon as possible,” Mr Koya said.

Fiji has maintained the position that PACER Plus should secure long-term improved market access, preserve policy space, create employment and achieve sustainable development.

Some red line areas which Mr Koya said had been discussed were right to regulate and infant industry development which was in order to support new and emerging industries.

“We had to take the hard line approach and they took note and they listened which is great. That is being a good Pacific neighbour,” he said.

The next round of intersessional (technical) PACER Plus meeting will be held in Nadi in June.

In an earlier statement, Mr McClay said: “As we move into the final stages of PACER Plus negotiations, we are working hard to conclude an agreement that benefits all Pacific islands countries and New Zealand.”

He had anticipated discussions with Mr Koya to provide an opportunity to engage with and understand Fiji’s perspectives on negotiations.


Fiji’s position

Fiji has continuously stressed it wants the PACER Plus to be development oriented given we are currently developing and know where we want to be in the years to come.

PACER Plus is seen from a positive view point as an avenue that could contribute in facilitating our development path.

However, the unfairness of being in a situation to shoulder more obligations and giving up Government revenue through tariff liberalisation and regulatory policy space in service and investment is a concern for Government.

The negotiations are currently seen to be at crossroads although some degree considerations have been noted recently with New Zealand trade negotiators.

Edited by: RACHNA LAL


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