26 Jan 2015

December deadline for PACER PLUS

6:26 am on 26 January 2015

Pacific Island countries have been given until December to finalise negotiations on the regional trade agreement PACER PLUS.

Container ship at Auckland port

Photo: PHOTO NZ

At least four meetings are expected this year for trade officials to thrash out their differences, with the first to be held in Port Vila, Vanuatu, in March.

The Chief Trade Adviser for the Pacific Islands countries, Edwini Kessie, says most chapters in the agreement have been agreed on.

He says the main components left to discuss are on labour mobility and development assistance as well as ensuring the agreement is mutually beneficial to all parties.

"It is only natural that some countries, i.e. the countries which are really prepared they are the ones which are more likely to benefit. But what we are aiming for is a balanced agreement which will give opportunities to all the 16 participating countries."