28 May 2014

PANG says free trade not Pacific reality

6:08 pm on 28 May 2014

As Pacific Trade Ministers meet in Kiribati, the Pacific Network on Globalisation, or PANG, is calling on them to learn from their mistakes in previous negotiations and avoid binding commitments that will not support their exporters.

This week's meeting is focussing on the economic opportunities from trade promotion and facilitation reforms, including the World Trade Organisation's agreement on Trade Facilitation.

But PANG's Adam Wolfenden says this deal along with the Pacific Plan's renewed call for integration and the PACER Plus agreement, are very free-trade heavy, very neo-liberal, and do not reflect the reality in the Pacific.

"The Pacific needs to stop pursuing these agreements and this idea that free trade will save the Pacific. They need to step back a bit and ask what is the Pacific reality and then work out what they want it to be and ground it in that reality, which is far from the case with the agreements like PACER Plus."

Adam Wolfenden of PANG