5 May 2009

Informal trade talks to boost small Pacific countries' trade

3:10 pm on 5 May 2009

The New Zealand Trade Minister, Tim Groser, says informal discussions this weekend in Auckland with his Pacific Islands counterparts will focus on the economic well-being of the island nations.

This comes a week after the New Zealand government announced that it would be aligning its trade and aid policies with a greater emphasis on economic development.

Mr Groser says this weekend's discussions, which will go ahead without the presence of Fiji, will continue negotiations on New Zealand and Australia's entry into the PACER PLUS agreement, but he says the primary interest is the economic development of the smaller economies.

He says the policy change is a country mile from the claims it's to further this country's foreign policy objectives.

"Actually quite the opposite. What we want to try and do is get more effectiveness behind our aid policies so they [island countries] can take advantage of the Australian and the New Zealand markets, which for these tiny economies look like very big opportunities but the reality is they have not been able to fully exploit those opportunities."

Tim Groser