8 May 2009

NGO says trade weekend trade meeting has questionable mandate

7:06 am on 8 May 2009

A Pacific NGO says that key Pacific Trade Ministers will miss the free trade talks called by New Zealand in Auckland starting on Friday.

New Zealand Trade Minister Tim Groser has invited his counterparts from Australia and 13 Pacific Island Countries to discuss extending the the closer economic relations dea dubbed PACER PLUS.

But the Pacific Network on Globalisation, or PANG, says the trade ministers of Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea will not be there.

Fiji had already been excluded as part of its ban from Pacific Islands Forum related activities.

PANG's Maureen Penjueli says the absence of these ministers will make it difficult for any consensus to be reached on the PACER-Plus negotiations.

She says the meeting is not a formal meeting of Pacific Islands Forum Trade Ministers, and has a questionable mandate for making decisions regarding free trade negotiations.