6 May 2010

NGO calls for Pacific free trade deal to go

6:19 pm on 6 May 2010

The Pacific Network on Globalisation or PANG says a new regional trade and economic agreement still being negotiated will provide little benefit for Pacific Island countries and should be scrapped.

Pacific trade ministers met recently to progress plans for the deal, which is known as PACER plus.

PANG's co-ordinator, Maureen Penjueli, says the agreement will lock in a system of import reliant food security, which will lead only to food insecurity.

She says with its emphasis on local agriculture, the concept of food sovereignty really resonates with people throughout the Pacific, up to 85 percent of whom she says are involved in the traditional subsistence economy.

"You must understand that our agriculture sector in the Pacific has been decimated. And so increasingly food sovereignty from a Pacific perspective which is a traditional food system has been under threat. The resurgence comes from people who are saying that are saying our resilience in the face of global crisis rests on our traditional food production system. I think we need to question the premise of pushing a liberalisation model on the Pacific."

Pacific Network on Globalisation's co-ordinator, Maureen Penjueli.