14 Aug 2007

More PACER talks in New Zealand in February

6:08 pm on 14 August 2007

Officials from Pacific Island countries are to meet in New Zealand early next year to try and reach agreement over a push by the metropolitan countries for free trade deals signed by Island countries to be extended to them.

Island countries that are members of the ACP group of nations are negotiating trade deals with the European Union and New Zealand and Australia want the same privileges extended to them.

Their argument is based on Article 6 of the Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations but the Island nations pleaded at the recent trade meeting in Vanuatu to be allowed to firstly sort out their arrangements with the EU.

The Deputy Secretary General of the Forum, Peter Forau, says they agreed and will debate it again in February.

"The Ministers agreed that New Zealand will host a Forum trade officials meeting in February in New Zealand to try and work out a way forward. Ah, the PACP [Pacific members of the African Caribbean and Pacific group of nations] nations have decided to do one other thing, which is, they wanted to seek a legal interpretation of Article 6."

Peter Forau