23 May 2005

Pacific government urged to reject European Union trade agreement

7:12 am on 23 May 2005

Pacific Island governments are being urged to reject the European Union's Economic Partnership Agreement and pursue other alternatives.

In a report out today, Auckland University Law Professor Jane Kelsey also says Pacific Island Governments should withdraw from the Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations, or PACER.

Karen Brown has more.

"The EU and Pacific members of the African, Caribbean and Pacific group of nations are considered on track to agree on the EPA by 2007."

But in a report commissioned by the World Council of Churches, Professor Kelsey says the deadline's impossible and there has been no assessment of the affects and the implications for future policy choices.

She says if they continue down the EPA path, the Pacific Islands will be locked into a development model of globalization that they cannot survive, but their hands will be tied.

She says they should reject the EPA and pursue the alternatives.

But Professor Kelsey says her suggestions are not an excuse for Pacific Island governments to do nothing.

On the contrary, she says churches and others should lead a debate to define a Pacific-centred development agenda.