21 May 2013

PNG officials consider leaving PACER Plus trade scheme

10:16 am on 21 May 2013

Officials from Papua New Guinea say they are considering withdrawing from free trade negotiations between Pacific Island countries and Australia and New Zealand.

PNG's Trade Minister, Richard Maru, on Monday told a meeting of trade ministers from the Melanesian Spearhead Group that his country was considering withdrawing from Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations (PACER) negotiations.

Pacnews says Mr Maru told reporters in Fiji that his country is not interested in PACER Plus as his country's focus is the MSG Trade Agreement.

15 countries are involved in the PACER negotiations, with the aim of helping Pacific Islands Forum countries benefit from enhanced regional trade and economic integration.

Asked by reporters whether PNG would withdraw immediately from PACER Plus negotiation talks, Mr Maru said the matter is under serious review by PNG's government.

He added that their feelings at the moment is that PACER Plus would be one-sided in favour of Australia and New Zealand.