PACER Plus

PACER deal will hurt Pacific, strengthen China - analyst

On Wednesday, New Zealand became the first country to ratify the PACER Plus agreement, which Australia and nine Pacific Island countries have signed.

Cleo Paskal, of the global think tank Chatham House, said enforced free trade will undermine customary land holding and social capital systems in the Pacific.

She said once those economies are weakened, China will pick up the pieces.

Tonga says it is still in PACER Plus

The deal was signed in Nuku’alofa last June by 10 countries including Australia, New Zealand and Tonga.

Last week, Matangi Tonga reported that 'Akilisi Pohiva admitted that the agreement was found to be inappropriate for Tonga and the country was no longer a signatory.

However Kaniva News now quotes him as saying he did not make that statement nor did he say anything that even suggested, or could be translated or interpreted, that Tonga was no longer a signatory to PACER Plus.

NZ told PACER Plus deal could be destructive for the Pacific

New Zealand with Australia has been strongly promoting the PACER Plus trade over the past 10 years and later last year it got the required backing, though it is still to be ratified.

But Dr Cleo Paskal of the global think tank Chatham House said there was very little in PACER Plue for the island nations.

She said Australia and New Zealand had bullied Pacific countries into a deal that offers very little and include no development for them.

Economist sees merit in Pacific trade deal

Papua New Guinea and Fij have refused to join the Australia and New Zealand-led agreement, which has been signed by most other Pacific nations.

Wadan Narsey, a Fijian economist at Australia's Swinburne University, said the absence of Fiji and PNG was a setback but he said there were still advantages.

He said the first of these was that something was better than nothing.

Pacific businesses keen for PACER Plus to come into effect

Growing the export potential for Pacific businesses was a key issue for the Private Sector Dialogue at last week's leaders forum in Apia.

NZ trade negotiator confident of PACER Plus

The deal was signed in June, but three of the region's largest countries - Papua New Guinea, Fiji and Vanuatu - refused to join, saying it would harm their economies and was imbalanced towards Australia and New Zealand.

The negotiator, Tessa Te Mata, said PACER Plus was about building on existing regional trade agreements and adding to the dynamism, economic integration and trade in the region.

She said the countries that refused to join needed to work out how PACER Plus would work for them and what they wanted from it.

PACER Plus could erode social services in Pacific says CTU

The CTU secretary Sam Huggard presented evidence to New Zealand Parliament's Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade select committee.

RNZI reports Mr Huggard examined the progress on the PACER-Plus trade agreement.

He said taxes on goods from Australia and New Zealand support health, education and social services, for which there are few alternatives.

"One of those would be a consumer tax like a GST or a VAT, and in the end those taxes hit the poor much stronger than they hit people who are well-off."

PACER Plus could erode social services in Pacific says CTU

The CTU secretary Sam Huggard presented evidence to New Zealand Parliament's Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade select committee.

Mr Huggard examined the progress on the PACER-Plus trade agreement.

He said taxes on goods from Australia and New Zealand support health, education and social services, for which there are few alternatives.

"One of those would be a consumer tax like a GST or a VAT, and in the end those taxes hit the poor much stronger than they hit people who are well-off."

PTI welcomes PACER Plus signing

The PTI Network has congratulated the Pacific countries who signed the agreement earlier this month in Tonga.

Michael Greenslade, Trade & Investment Commissioner and CEO PTI New Zealand, said it’s an important agreement that will strengthen Pacific relations.

“New Zealand and Australian markets are important for the Pacific Islands, and closer trade and economic relations will have an important role in increasing collective prosperity.  The key objective of PACER Plus is to encourage economic development and promote business growth across the Pacific.”

Tonga commits to steps to ratify PACER Plus

Speaking at the signing ceremony in Nuku’alofa yesterday, Pohiva said Tonga will first conduct a readiness assessment of its trading with Australia, New Zealand and other Pacific Island Countries to ensure proper measures are put in place to determine Tonga’s readiness.

“Secondly, the anticipated impact that such an agreement will have on our economies. Thirdly, the signing of the agreement is only the beginning of this important trade journey. Government will still have to confirm details about Labour Mobility and Development Assistance.”