29 Mar 2018

Tonga withdraws from PACER Plus

4:35 pm on 29 March 2018

Tonga's prime minister says his country is no longer a signatory to the regional trade deal known as PACER Plus.

Tonga Prime Minister, 'Akilisi Pohiva

Tonga Prime Minister, 'Akilisi Pohiva Photo: RNZ Pacific / Koro Vaka'uta

The deal was signed in Nuku Alofa last year on 14 June by 10 countries including Australia, New Zealand, Niue, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Kiribati, Tuvalu, Cook Islands and Tonga.

But according to Matangi Tonga, 'Akilisi Pohiva has admitted that the agreement has been found to be inappropriate for Tonga and the country is no longer a signatory.

However, a spokesperson from Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade says Australia has not received any formal advice from Tonga that it is not proceeding towards ratification of the Treaty.

They said Australia's Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop, discussed PACER Plus and the joint interest in lifting economic growth in the region when she met with the Tongan Government on 23 March.

As far as DFAT is concerned the Australian Government and the other 11 signatories to PACER Plus are working to conclude domestic processes to allow for ratification and early implementation of the Agreement.

Other notable absences from PACER Plus at the time of the signing were Fiji, Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu.

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