22 Jul 2008

NZ calls against rushing Pacific common market

3:28 pm on 22 July 2008

New Zealand Associate Trade Minister says it is vital that all Pacific Islands Forum countries are not rushed into joining a common economic market in the region.

Pacific trade ministers meet in Rarotonga this week to discuss progress on economic integration under the Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations, or PACER.

Luamanavao Winnie Laban says the meeting is an opportunity for Forum members to advance their vision for a single economic market in the region.

She says it is important that member countries are assured that they will be have the support and knowledge to help them grow their own economies.

"When we talk about a single economic market, if we use for example, if you have a Samoan rugby team, forgive me if I am using the wrong example and you play them against the Super 14 they are not as strong, but if you make a Pacific wide rugby team that would play in the Super 14 competition, as a collective they are much stronger and competitive and I think that is the kind of metaphor that we would like to encourage in the Pacific. Also saying to each of them that no matter how small or how big, they are very important and their context is very important."

Luamanavao Winnie Laban