22 Oct 2009

Renewed calls for Fiji to be included in PACER Plus negotiations

6:17 am on 22 October 2009

There are renewed calls for Pacific trade ministers to bring Fiji back into negotiations on the PACER Plus regional trade agreement.

The ministers meet from Friday in Brisbane to develop a framework for the negotiations but Fiji is shut out after being suspended from the Pacific Islands Forum.

NGOs have argued this is illegal given Fiji was a signatory to the original PACER document and that that deal's a separate legal entity from the Forum.

Vijay Naidu, who teaches development studies at the University of the South Pacific, says the ministers must first allow for consultations within each of the member countries.

"So that you know the different stake holders with respect to any changes in the trade regime or any other relationship they may have, or contribution to make, are listened to and [they] end up owning the framework. The second thing of course is the whole issue of where Fiji is situated and I think that there is an urgent need for all the negotiators to try and work together to bring Fiji into the fold."

Vijay Naidu.