Pacific Islands Trade Agreement

Pacific Leaders Meeting - Auckland, New Zealand September 2011

Will Australia and New Zealand really allow sovereignty to Pacific Countries on Trade Decisions - media release 12th September 2011. 

AFTINET and AID/WATCH released a joint media statement on 12th September calling on the Australian government to reflect on the outcomes of the Pacific Island Leaders meeting and honour the sovereignty of the Pacific Island Countries. For a copy of the media release follow this link.

PACER-Plus - Australia must support an Independent Trade Adviser and Pacific Island Sovereignty

Ongoing funding for an Independent Office of Chief Trade Advisor (OCTA) has been a contentious issue, particularly in 2011.

Australia and New Zealand agreed to fund the OCTA for three years from its commencement in 2010. The first year of funding was agreed to very quickly and operations commenced under the Chief Trade Advisor (CTA).

Problems occurred when the contracts were due for the second and subsequent years of funding in early 2011. New Zealand and Australia placed unacceptable conditions onto the funding and into the proposed contracts.

Human rights and trade in the Pacific: A paper on designing a Human Rights Impact Assessment for PACER-Plus

IWDA is working with researchers from La Trobe University and the University of Melbourne to undertake a collaborative and innovative desk-research project to identify the appropriateness and potential structure of a gendered Human Rights Impact Assessment (HRIA) for the PACER-Plus trade agreement.

Trade and Health Forum Update - Outcomes and Reports available

In Melbourne and Sydney this year the People Health Movement has conducted forums on PACER-Plus and the impact of trade on health. The following link is to the reports and outcomes of both forums on "Health and Trade in the Pacific: PACER-Plus - should we be worried?" from the People's Health Movement website.

The website contains other reports related to the Health implications of PACER-Plus.

UPDATE: August 2010 - PACER-Plus - Call to Suspend Talks

Pacific civil society has called for the PACER-Plus talks to be suspended pending promised national consultations being undertaken; funding and adequate staffing for the office of the Chief Trade Advisor; an easing of the impacts and an evaluation of the of the global financial crisis; alternative trade options are examined; there is a guarantee to exclude comprehensive services and investment chapters; there is a delinking of the labour mobility program; adequate funding and training is provided for capacity building of local trade officials and key stakeholders; a human rights and gender


The Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations - Plus (PACER-Plus) is a proposed regional free trade agreement between Australia, New Zealand and 14 Pacific Island Countries. Many of these are small vulnerable economies facing problems like rising sea levels resulting from climate change. Any regional free trade agreement that covers trade in goods, services and foreign investment needs detailed research on different sectors and industries that will be affected by greater trade liberalisation – yet very few studies have looked at the effect of PACER-Plus on specific industries. AFTINET calls on the Australian government to focus its resources on development in the Pacific Islands rather than trade negotiations.

Download our leaflet: PACER-Plus: Development or Free Trade in the Pacific Islands? (Updated November 2013)