11 Nov 2014

Free trade a 'threat' for custom land

10:00 am on 11 November 2014

The impact of free trade agreements on custom land is a concern for the Pacific Network on Globalisation.

Wing Beach, CNMI

Wing Beach, CNMI Photo: RNZ

A campaigner for the organisation, Adam Wolfenden, says custom land is central to life in the Pacific Islands but free trade agreements see it as a barrier to investment, and something that needs to be challenged.

He says free trade advocates are using agreements to secure control over land use, meaning custom decisions are undermined.

Mr Wolfenden says Vanuatu's commitments at the World Trade Organisation mean its ability to support and nurture land use for indigenous enterprise, such as local tourist accommodation, can only happen if it gives the same support to foreign investors.

He says the push for the Pacific Islands to become integrated into the global economy is asking the Pacific to turn its back on the systems and cultural practices that have supported it for generations.

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