1 Sep 2017

Vanuatu has change of heart on PACER Plus agreement

1:46 pm on 1 September 2017

The Vanuatu government says it will sign the regional trade agreement, PACER Plus, next week in Apia.

Representatives who signed the PACER Plus trade agreement in Tonga

Representatives who signed the PACER Plus trade agreement in Tonga Photo: Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat

The government pulled out of the original signing back in June, saying it needed more information on the agreement.

It will be the 11th nation to sign. Fiji and Papua New Guinea have also refused to sign the Australia and New Zealand-led agreement.

In a statement, Vanuatu's government said some issues still need to be satisfactorily resolved, including continued access for kava sellers into the Australian market.

It said it wanted Australia to remove what it calls unfair trade practices.

Vanuatu has also called for Australia and New Zealand to grant a visa waiver for ni-Vanuatu citizens to allow freer movement as part of an effort to foster greater economic integration.

It also said both countries should increase their development assistance programme to the island countries.

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