25 May 2009

Australia and NZ accused of opposing outside funding for office of Chief Trade Advisor

6:26 am on 25 May 2009

The Solomon Islands government says Australia and New Zealand are opposing outside funding of an office for a regional Chief Trade Advisor.

The issue has been raised at a meeting of officials considering the PACER Plus initiative .

PACER - short for Pacific Agreement for Closer Economic Relations - needs a Office of the Chief Trade Advisor to help overcome the capacity constraints of most Pacific Island countries.

The Solomons Director of Trade in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs , Heinz Vaekesa, says while the deal could bring benefits, the island nations and the region's two major players remain divided on the design and funding of the office to support and advise the Pacific island countries during negotiations.

Australia and New Zealand have offered limited funding for the office, but have opposed the office receiving further funding from other donors.