30 Mar 2012

NGO says benefits in alternative approaches to Pacific trade negotiations

4:37 pm on 30 March 2012

The Australian Fair Trade and Investment Network, says stakeholders are still not seeing enough of the detail in the PACER Plus trade agreement framework being developed.

The Network is critical of a lack of representation by civil society, as well as small and medium enterprises owned by Pacific Islanders, at the recent Non-State Actor meeting in Brisbane on regional trade negotiations.

The Network's Harvey Purse says funding provided for the consultations by Australia and New Zealand is inadequate.

He also says there could be significantly more gains for Pacific islanders if the trade agreement is negotiated as a non-standard trade deal.

"Thinking about alternate methods of moving forward. Because, for example, there are things like rules of origin which are now quite tightly tied to any progress in Pacer Plus which potentially could be improved for the Pacific without having to drag it out through elongated trade negotiations. So there are things which could be left out of it which would be of benefit to people."

Harvey Purse