Pacific Islands Trade Agreement

PACER-Plus

PACER-plus is a trade agreement being negotiated between Australia, New Zealand and 14 Pacific Island countries. Negotiations have been ongoing since 2009 and aim to finish in 2017.

PNG, the largest PI economy, has withdrawn from the negotiations, citing a lack of economic benefits. Fiji has since announced that it does not agree with the final text and has not agreed to sign. PNG and Fiji are the two largest Pacific Island economies, so the value of the deal is questionable without them. 


MAJOR ISSUES:

Australia and New Zealand are driving the agenda and want lower tariffs for their exports and more rights for foreign investors. No formal ISDS, but more investment protection through local courts.

Pacific Islands want a development agenda, including special and differential treatment for their tariffs and guaranteed seasonal workers schemes in Australia and New Zealand. The latter have been implemented, but are not part of the legally binding agreement.

Pacific Islands want additional aid and development funds, also concerned about the impact of loss of tariff income on government revenues.

See the June Pacific Island civil society Social Impact Statement on PACER-Plus which analyses leaked documents to show that PACER-Plus would have negative impacts for Pacific Islanders on local employment, government revenue and access to services, health outcomes and food security.


Australia wants to finish PACER- plus talks with or without Fiji

February 1, 2017: Fiji broadcasting Corporation reports thatAustralian Assistant Trade Minister Pitt said that Australia wants to conclude the PACER- plus negotiations as soon as possible this year.

PNG has confirmed it will not be involved.  Mister Pitt said that Australia would be pleased if Fiji was a founding member but after eight years it wanted to complete the talks.

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