30 Mar 2012

Call for more funding so NGOs can take part in Pacific trade talks

3:15 pm on 30 March 2012

The Australian Fair Trade and Investment Network, says there was a lack of balanced representation at the recent Non-State Actor meeting in Brisbane on regional trade negotiations.

The Pacific Islands Private Sector Organisations network was in attendance, as were several Business Councils, Chambers of Commerce and a few multinationals such as British American Tobacco and the ANZ bank.

However largely absent were small and medium enterprises owned by Pacific islanders.

And with only one NGO participating in the discussions, the Network's Harvey Purse says funding provided for the consultations by Australia and New Zealand is inadequate.

"One of the biggest problems are the capacity contraints within the Pacific and a lack of funding in particular for the consultations. They're quite an expensive process - we recognise that. But it's also been recognised by all of the leaders that it's very essential for that engagement to take place and unfortunately, that's not happening at the moment."

Harvey Purse