30 May 2017

Pacific NGOs maintain opposition to PACER Plus

2:27 pm on 30 May 2017

Dozens of civil society groups in the Pacific have reiterated their criticism of the PACER Plus trade deal, and said it is likely to fail the people of the Pacific.

The Pacific trade exhibition in Auckland, New Zealand.

The Pacific trade exhibition in Auckland, New Zealand. Photo: RNZI / Indira Stewart

The trade deal is due to be signed next month in Tonga but this week NGOs and business organisations have been given a chance to study the text at a meeting in Vanuatu.

There has been no indication from the Office of the Chief Trade Advisor or the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat whether any concerns raised by civil society or the private sector can be incorporated into the text.

In an open letter, 60 civil society groups and 233 individuals say the deal is likely to fail if there are not proper assessments of the impacts the deal will have on health, natural resources and the environment.

They also said there has to be public discussion on these potential impacts.

The groups said following the release of the text a properly funded independent social, cultural, environmental and human rights impact assessment needs to be undertaken.

They said without this they believe the deal as it stands will be one of the biggest threats the Pacific's people and environment have faced in a generation.

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