31 Jul 2009

Pacific region not ready to sign up PACER Plus trade deals, says report

6:20 pm on 31 July 2009

A report that looks to help Pacific countries with negotiation of free trade shows the region isn't ready to sign up with both New Zealand and Australian governments.

The report, called "Speaking Truth to Power", has criticised the two governments for bullying the region by using political pressure and financial aid as ammunition to rush ahead with the deal known as PACER-PLUS.

New Zealand and Australia's Trade Ministers have defended their approach, saying these trade deals are vital for fostering much needed economic development in the Pacific region.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Trade in Solomon Islands disagrees.

Its director of External Trade, Heinz Vaekesa says he thinks fast-tracking negotiations is premature as timeframe planning hasn't even been outlined.

"One of the issues which is at the heart of the negotiations is the road map or guidelines to the process of the negotiations. It appears to be if we ignore that there is likely the negotiations will be done on an ad-hoc basis."

Heinz Vaekesa says on the cuff decisions wont benefit any country.