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NGO: ‘Conclusion’ Of Trade Talks Lacks Pacific Development At Its Heart

The conclusion of the regional trade negotiations, PACER-Plus, offers little for Pacific island countries in guaranteed benefits but burdens them with legally binding costs, says the Pacific Network on Globalisation
22 Apr 2017 11:00
NGO: ‘Conclusion’ Of Trade Talks Lacks Pacific Development At Its Heart
Pacer-Plus

The conclusion of the regional trade negotiations, PACER-Plus, offers little for Pacific island countries in guaranteed benefits but burdens them with legally binding costs, says the Pacific Network on Globalisation (PANG).

The NGO says the real winners in this “poorly designed” trade agreement are Australia and New Zealand.

PANG’s Trade Campaigner, Adam Wolfenden said: “What has been concluded is a deal that promises benefits on labour mobility and aid money but undermines the ability of the Pacific to determine for themselves what development is and the tools to pursue Pacific development aspirations.

“No amount of aid funds can adequately compensate for the loss of policy space that governments will need to be developmentally self-determining.

“The controversial agreement was concluded by Australia, New Zealand and 12 Forum Island Countries. Papua New Guinea has withdrawn from the talks whilst Fiji was absent from the meeting.

“Papua New Guinea evaluated PACER-Plus as a ‘net-loss’ for their economy and the failure to ensure that Pacific Island Countries can protect their industries has resulted in Fiji’s absence.

“If the two biggest economies in the Pacific see this agreement as not only not having a benefit but in fact contain threats to their infant industries, then you really see just how bad this deal is. There may be an agreement but Pacific people are still shut out of what has been agreed to.

“Releasing the legally binding texts and market access schedules after they have been agreed to robs the people of the Pacific and democratic parliamentary processes from the ability to have a say in what will impact them for decades.

“We are calling on all governments to release all documents immediately to ensure democratic process take place and people and their parliamentary representatives are allowed the time to understand what is at stake. Pacific people must have the final voice in determining whether or not their country is to sign onto PACER-Plus.”

The signing of PACER-Plus is scheduled to take place on June 16 in Tonga. Source: Pacific Network on Globalisation

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