7 Aug 2009

Negotiations on Pacer-plus for Forum countries will proceed but no time frame yet

6:16 am on 7 August 2009

Negotiations for a regional trade deal for the Pacific Island Forum countries will proceed, but no specific time frame has been agreed on.

Formal negotiations on the deal known as Pacer Plus were expected to be launched at this weeks meeting, but there was questions over Fiji's involvement and reluctance from some of the smaller states.

Megan Whelan reports from Cairns.

"The Forum's new chair, Australia's Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, says only the 15 countries represented at the meeting in Cairns will be involved in talks at a ministerial level. Mr Rudd says leaders discussed specific officials level mechanisms to keep the administration in Fiji informed of developments of those ministerial level negotiations which will occur between all other governments. Kevin Rudd was unable to give a time frame for the beginning of negotiations, saying simply soon. A meeting of trade ministers will be held in the Federated States of Micronesia as soon as possible, and no later than November."