21 Sep 2006

New Zealand academic says free trade agreements a new form of colonialism

9:46 am on 21 September 2006

A new study just completed has described free trade agreements as a new form of colonisation.

The Fiji Times reports that this is the finding of a study commissioned by the Network on Globalisation and carried out on the recently signed Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations known as PACER.

Its author, New Zealand academic, Professor Jane Kelsey, says free trade theory pretends that the global market place is a level playing field where island countries will get access to new markets for their exports in return for opening their own borders.

Professor Kelsey says in reality the free trade agreements are a new form of colonization which will allow richer countries and their corporations to dominate economic life in the Pacific islands.

Professor Kelsey says free trade will force many local producers to close, people in paid work will lose their jobs and the islands will become even more dependent on imports, including essentials such as food.

She say under these agreements, islands will have to stop protecting their own goods through measures such as tariffs, import quotas, licensing and temporary bans.