7 May 2009

NZ, Australia accused of trying to ambush trade talks

9:58 am on 7 May 2009

New Zealand and Australia have been accused of seeking to ambush talks on a free trade agreement in the Pacific.

Pacific trade ministers are to meet in Auckland this weekend to discuss including the countries in the Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations.

The Pacific Network on Globalisation says Pacific nations want a four year timeframe for talks, while New Zealand and Australia want them underway by next year.

It says there are fears Pacific ministers will be pushed into advancing talks on a trade deal, with aid used as a bargaining tool.

However, Trade Negotiations Minister Tim Groser describes this as a left-wing fantasy. He says claims of bullying are nonsense.