Business journalist says JSCOT report a critique of PACER-Plus

17 May 2018: Business journalist Nic Maclellan has analysed the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties (JSCT) report into the PACER-Plus trade deal on Devpolicy blog. He writes, “although the committee recommends that Parliament should ratify PACER-Plus, the report is a telling critique of the treaty’. It concedes that ‘the absence of PNG and Fiji… significantly diminishes the utility of the agreement for Australian businesses’.

Maclellan observes that Sir Noel Levi, the former Pacific Island Forum Secretary who was involved with the initial drafting of PACER decades ago, condemned the negotiators for failing to seriously consider the concerns raised by PNG and Fiji.

He notes that the JSCT report also raised two other key concerns about the deal. Firstly, that Pacific Island countries already have tariff free access to Australia and New Zealand for their exports (meaning all market access benefits will flow to Australia and NZ). And secondly, that the development assistance in PACER-Plus comes from the existing aid budget.

He then summarises other concerns raised in evidence given to the Committee, including those raised by the Public Health Association of Australia (PHAA) and AFTINET. AFTINET published a media release on the report last week, and you can read it on our website here.