7 Dec 2015

Pacific's advisor says no secrecy in PACER Plus

4:36 pm on 7 December 2015

The chief trade adviser on PACER Plus negotiations in the Pacific has hit out at regional non government organisations questioning the transparency of the planned trade deal.

Edwini Kessie

Edwini Kessie Photo: Supplied

Edwini Kessie says calls from regional NGOs for the release of the negotiation texts are redundant because local stakeholders are regularly briefed by their trade officials on the progress of PACER Plus.

The 13th round of the trade negotiations is underway in Fiji this week and focuses on the last parts of the agreement and also finalising market access arrangements.

Dr Kessie says NGOs like the Pacific Network on Globalisation, or PANG, were criticised in trade meetings at the weekend.

"A number of the trade officials basically told the NSA's at the regional level, questioned who they represent because they did not certainly represent their constituencies. So the allegation that PACER Plus is shrouded in secrecy is simply not true."

Pacific Island Forum leaders have called for the regional free trade agreement to be wrapped up by the mid 2016.

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