9 Jun 2009

SPOCTU wants free trade extension to await crisis analysis

12:39 pm on 9 June 2009

The South Pacific Organisation of Councils of Trade Unions, SPOCTU, wants Pacific countries to assess the impact of the global economic crisis before extending a free trade agreement in the region.

Next week, Pacific Island Forum Trade Ministers meet in Samoa and a key issue will be the expansion of the Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations to include New Zealand and Australia, in a deal dubbed PACER-Plus.

But the chair of SPOCTU, Mele Amanaki, says to ensure the changes to be made are the correct ones, they first need to know more about the causes and the impact of the global recession.

"So before we rush into PACER-Plus let's take a step back and assess the impact. Find what are the problems and see which are the inappropriate trade policies that we have put in place that have caused the problems that have [cost] the livelihoods of millions of people."

Mele Amanaki