PACER-plus still too ‘one-sided,’ says Fiji
24 October 2016: Last month we reported that Fiji had joined PNG in withdrawing from the PACER-plus negotiations in their current form, meaning the two biggest Pacific Island economies had abandoned the talks.
Fiji’s trade minister continues to be critical of the agreement, and has since told business representatives in Auckland that the current text is still too one-sided.
According to recent reports on Radio NZ, Mr Bainimarama said:
"It would have an adverse impact on our development and the development of our Pacific Island neighbours. Fiji wants an enduring, predictable and sustainable trade agreement and in our view we still have not got one in our negotiations thus far.
"The current document is too one-sided, too restrictive, places too many obligations on us that we cannot afford to meet.”
NZ Prime Minister John Key responded saying he agreed that PACER-plus should have more of a development focus, telling Radio NZ:
"We'd prefer to progress PACER Plus with Fiji if we can, if we can't then it won't necessarily stop us but we'd prefer to have them in but it's like anything, it's like a treaty settlement, a free trade agreement, you have to have both sides reaching an agreement and feeling as if they're getting a fair deal."
The aim remains to finish the talks before the end of the year.