Pacific Islands Trade Agreement

Sign the petition supporting a PACER social impact statement

12 August 2016

Pacific Island advocacy group PANG recently published their report "Defending Pacific Ways of Life: A Peoples Social Impact Assessment of PACER-Plus". Since then, PANG reports that 47 organisations, including AFTINET, have endorsed this report and demanded the release of all PACER-plus texts and for no decision to be made until a fully funded and independent social impact assessment can take place.

PANG is now calling for individuals to sign their endorsement of this report via their petition by August 19.

PNG 'not interested' in PACER Plus trade with Australia

8 August 2016

Papua New Guinea's Trade Minister Richard Maru has told new Australian Assistant Minister for Trade Keith Pitt that PNG would not participate in the PACER-Plus deal, according to ABC news reports.

"I know the Australian Government has been actively pushing the PACER-Plus policy within the region,” Mr Maru said. “I've made it clear that PNG is not interested and that I have directed all my officers not to entertain any negotiations."

Pacific urged to walk away from PACER-Plus

22 June 2016

A new report by the Pacific Network on Globalisation (PANG) has urged Pacific Island countries to walk away from PACER-Plus trade talks.

The report, titled ‘Defending Pacific ways of life: A People’s Social Impact Assessment of PACER-Plus,’ comprises of assessments from leading academics in Fiji, New Zealand and Australia and looks at leaked PACER-Plus text. It concludes that Australia and New Zealand are pushing their own interests at the expense of the Pacific, and recommends that Pacific island governments should retain their legal right to regulate to protect their national development interests, which include the ownership and control of land, natural resources and the environment.

PACER-Plus

The Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations - Plus (PACER-Plus) agreement between Australia, New Zealand and 12 Pacific Island countries was finalised in Brisbane in April 2017. PACER-plus negotiations began in 2009 with 14 Pacific Island countries involved in the talks. The deal was signed on June 14, 2017, but the two  largest economies,  Papua New Guinea and Fiji , representing 80% of the combined GDP of Pacific Island countries, did not sign. Both have said the agreement threatens their infant industries and would not benefit their economies. 

PACER Plus was tabled in the Australian parliament in November 2017 and was  reviewed by the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties which reported  on   May 9, 2018. Community groups made submissions recommending against implementation, pending independent assessments of the economic, environmental , health and gender impacts of the deal in Pacific Island countries. See the AFTINET submission  here  and the Committee Report here.  The report admitted that he absence of Fiji and PNG greatly diminished its significance,  that the main benefits would flow to Australia and New Zealand and that rapid removal of tariffs and services deregulation could harm small and vulnerable Pacific Island economies.Despite these admissions, the report recommended that the implementing legislation be approved. See AFTINET analysis here..

PNG not ready to sign PACER Plus as Pacific seasonal workers exploited in Aus

2 March 2016

Papua New Guinea has said it is not ready to sign the Pacer Plus trade deal between Pacific Island nations, Australia and New Zealand. PNG’s statement comes after more than six years of negotiations and despite the agreement being scheduled for signing in June this year. 

Adam Wolfenden from the Pacific Network on Globalisation (PANG) speaks to ABC Radio about why PNG’s stance makes sense. Listen to the interview here

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