Brisbane negotiating Round – 26th to 28th March 2012

On 26th March 2012 the Australian Government hosted the second Non-State Actors (NSA) meeting on PACER-Plus. This meeting is meant to be the premier consultative forum for NGOs and businesses interested in PACER-Plus.

The NSA was held before the Forum Island Trade Ministers Meeting, which took place on 27th and 28th March 2012 in Brisbane.

30 March 2012: Media coverage

Two short articles on March 30th 2012 on Radio New Zealand as a result of AFTINET joint media release with PANG issued on 28th March 2012.

NGO says benefits in alternative approaches to Pacific trade negotiations:

Call for more funding so NGOs can take part in Pacific trade talks:  

28 March 2012: Non-State Actor Dialogue Fails 'meaningful' test at PACER-Plus talks

The Pacific Network on Globalisation (PANG) and AFTINET have issued a joint media release on the Non-State Actors dialogue which took place in Brisbane on Monday 26th March.

The Australian Fair Trade and Investment Network (AFTINET) said that it's time for Australia to provide the money necessary for the Pacific to hear from NGOs.

“Whilst we appreciate and welcome Australia’s provision of some funding for the NSA dialogue, this consultation is an example of a job half-done. Australia has always acknowledged the constraints in the region including limited funding for consultations and the involvement of NSAs. However the funding provided by Australia and New Zealand is inadequate. So we've now had a consultation that is not representative of the wide spectrum of views in the Pacific, and failed to include any critical voices,” explained Harvey Purse, Trade Justice Campaigner of AFTINET.

“It can hardly be seen as improving the lives of Pacific peoples when the non government sector, with their diverse expertise and views, have less representation at these key consultations than multi-national corporate interests such as big tobacco (BAT), alcohol (Heineken) and finance (ANZ),” said Mr Purse.

Negotiations on the regional trade agreement known as PACER-Plus are underway in Brisbane this week.

For a copy of the media release follow this link.

23 March 2012: NGOs critical of 'consultation about consultation' on regional trade agreement

The Pacific Network on Globalisation (PANG), AFTINET and AID/WATCH have issued a joint media release critical of the key consultation on PACER-Plus which occurs once per year.

The criticism of March’s consultations on a regional free trade agreement focuses on the absence of key voices and lack of focus on the real issues.

“This is the second Non State Actor consultation and again we are seeing the key organisations from the Pacific that work on these issues unable to attend due to funding, undermining the ability of their concerns to be raised. This also appears to only be a consultation about consultation, avoiding the substantive issues contained in a regional trade agreement, issues that will have a huge impact on the lives of Pacific Islanders” commented Adam Wolfenden, Campaigner for the Pacific Network on Globalisation (PANG).

For a copy of the media release follow this link.