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. 

Stop rush to finish India and Pacific Island trade deals before elections

MEDIA RELEASE, April 14 2016“Trade Envoy Andrew Robb’s stated intention to complete secret negotiations on the India FTA in the next six weeks could violate the Caretaker Convention which states that governments should not finalise trade deals in the election period, which is likely to be from May 11 to July 2,” AFTINET Convener Dr Patricia Ranald said today. 

Trade deal threatens essential services in the Pacific Islands

PACER-Plus negotiations towards a free trade agreement involving Australia, New Zealand and 14 of Pacific Island countries are underway this week in Port Vila, Vanuatu, and it is expected that trade in services will be discussed.

However, opening up all service 'markets' in vulnerable economies poses many threats to our island neighbours. Writing for Eureka Street, AFTINET campaigner Jemma Williams explains why.

Read more


Solomon Islands negotiator concerned development neglected in PACER-Plus

Last week trade negotiators from Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Island nations met in Adelaide for the seventh Intersessional meeting of the PACER-Plus trade negotiations.

Robert Sisilo from the Solomon Islands Trade Negotiations Envoy expressed his concerns that the objective of PACER-Plus - to help Pacific Island Nations achieve economic growth and sustainable development - was being neglected in the ongoing negotiations. According to an article in the Soloman Star , Sisilo is concerned that Australia and New Zealand officials have "forgotton the reasons why PACER-Plus was launched".

Read the article in the Soloman Star here.

Pacific Islands trade agreement progressing slowly

Progress on the PACER-Plus negotiations for a trade agreement between Australia, New Zealand and 14 developing Pacific Island nations has been slow. The Pacific Islands are pushing for additional development assistance to be given as part of the trade agreement, which is being resisted by Australia and New Zealand. The Pacific Islands also want to include labour mobility in the deal, which would allow more Pacific Island workers in to Australia and New Zealand. So far, Australia has been unwilling to commit to this and New Zealand is looking at offering a labour mobility program outside of the framework of the trade agreement.

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

 Meanwhile, both Pacific Island and Australian unions have been concerned about workers’ rights in seasonal worker schemes in the context of the Pacer Plus negotiations.

Rush to finish trade deals before election undemocratic

18 April 2016

Trade Envoy Andrew Robb recently stated his intention to complete the secret negotiations on the India FTA in the next six weeks.

However, this could violate the Caretaker Convention, which states that governments should not finalise trade deals in the election period, which is likely to be from May 11 to July 2.

Final negotiations for the PACER-plus trade agreement are also scheduled in June, and ongoing bilateral negotiations around the WTO Government Procurement Agreement are in their final stages.

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