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Tuesday, 11 August 2009


Image: Members of the Pacific Island Forum. Source: Wikipedia

The 40th meeting of the Pacific Islands Forum Leaders in Cairns, Australia agreed to begin negotiations on PACER Plus - a free trade agreement between members of the PIF but at the moment excluding Fiji.

This is an important decision highlighting New Zealand's export trade to the Pacific as well as concerns from a number of organizations about the effect of such an FTA on members. Already New Zealand and Australia have been labelled as 'trade bullies'.

The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has published a piece on PACER Plus at: www.dfat.gov.au/geo/spacific/pacer/ but MFAT does not yet have a document on the proposed agreement.

There is also a useful background paper entitled 'PACER: a plus or negative?' on the Islandsbusiness website at:

'Islands Business' has a wealth of information about PACER and is also accessible through ELIScat, alongwith other background material on PACER.

Is it a step forward or back for the Pacific?

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