Updated September 1, 2011 10:26:54
The Pacific's Chief Trade Advisor, Chris Noonan, says Australia is still placing unacceptable conditions on funding for the Office he heads - an Office tasked with providing expert advice for the Pacific's negotiations with Australia and New Zealand for the proposed PACER Plus trade agreement.
Pacific Islands Trade Agreement
Updated September 1, 2011 10:26:54
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.
Updated August 31, 2011 10:44:38
Australia's Parliamentary Secretary for Pacific Island Affairs, Richard Marles, rejects any suggestion that Canberra is throwing its weight around in negotiations for the new round of funding for the Office of the Chief Trade advisor.
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.
The recent Pacific Island Forum Trade Ministers Meeting, held in Tonga on 18th & 19th May 2011, failed to resolve the issue of funding for the Office of Chief Trade Advisor (OCTA). The issue was deferred until the Pacific Island Fourm Leaders Meeting in Auckland in September, timed for the Rugby World Cup.
The following links are to media coverage of the Pacific Trade Winds Consultation in Suva from 18th-20th November 2010.
PANG and the organisers of the Pacific Consultation “Navigating Pacific Trade Winds” 18th-20th November 2010 arranged AFTINET’s attendance at the consultations.
For more detail and links to resources from this consultation please follow this link to our PACER-Plus Pacific Trade Winds 2010 page .
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.
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
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.