6 May 2009

Group likens Auckland trade talks to ambush on Pacific states

3:56 pm on 6 May 2009

The anti-globalisation organisation, Arena, says a meeting of Pacific trade ministers in Auckland this weekend has all the hallmarks of an Australian and New Zealand ambush on the island countries.

The meeting, called by New Zealand, is to progress the entry by the metropolitan countries into the closer economic relations agreement, PACER PLUS.

The Arena spokesperson, Dr Jane Kelsey, says Australia and New Zealand are looking for a quick completion of the PACER PLUS negotiations despite the island countries saying they want taken it slowly.

She says this reluctance is becuase the island countries believe PACER PLUS is not well conceived.

"Now we have on top of it this linking of aid and trade, very explicitly by Murray McCully, that suggests that the Pacific Island Governments this weekend will come under enormous pressure in terms of their aid budgets if they don't agree to an expedited timetable for PACER PLUS. That is not the kind of behaviour that Australia and New Zealand should be displaying in relation to the Pacific."

Jane Kelsey