20 Jun 2006

Trade ministers to examine positives and negatives of Pacific trade deals

8:13 pm on 20 June 2006

Pacific trade ministers meeting in Fiji this week are to assess the merits of trade deals set up in the region.

The New Zealand Trade Minister Phil Goff says the aim of the meeting is to ensure that trade works to the social and economic advantage of all Pacific countries.

There are several trade agreements that are intended to integrate the region into a single market and Mr Goff says at this meeting they want to set up studies to find out what the impact of these deals will be.

"There will be an upside, there will also be some negative consequences. What we want to do is, of course, is enhance the positives and mitigate against the negative consequences."

Phil Goff.

NGOs have long been critical of the impact New Zealand and Australia will have in a wider free trade area but Mr Goff says the metropolitan countries will not make decisions that would impoverish the small nations in the region.