7 May 2009

Oxfam urges fairness in Pacific trade talks

3:37 pm on 7 May 2009

The NGO Oxfam says the New Zealand Trade Minister, Tim Groser, must ensure any negotiations on trade at an informal meeting in Auckland this weekend, are fair to the island countries.

The meeting has been called to try and advance the regional trade deal known as PACER PLUS.

Oxfam says it has enormous implications for Pacific countries, and New Zealand and Australia have to ensure the smaller countries have enough time and resources to negotiate a truly development friendly deal.

Oxfam executive director, Barry Coates, says the Pacific countries need to be able to start these negotiations on a level playing field, but they lack the resources of Australia and New Zealand.

Mr Coates also warns that with the absence of Fiji from the meeting, due to its suspension from the Pacific Islands Forum, there should no push for a final agreement until it is clearer how the situation in Fiji will develop.