4 Jun 2009

NZ wants limits on Pacific Forum trade advisor's office says NZ's Trade minister

9:53 am on 4 June 2009

New Zealand Trade Minister Tim Groser says New Zealand wants limits on a Pacific Islands Forum trade adviser's office to avoid creating a new regional bureaucracy.

NZPA reports Mr Groser saying the office needs to be large enough to support Forum Island countries in the negotiations - but not so large as to be unsustainable.

The Island countries want the adviser to help them in their negotiations with New Zealand and Australia who are angling to join the already established Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations or PACER.

Both of the larger countries are also pushing for the scheme to be extended to cover trade in services - it has been dubbed PACER - plus.

The Solomon Islands director of trade Heinz Vaekesa says they cannot understand why New Zealand and Australia are blocking funding from other sources.

But Mr Groser says funding for the office would come from a finite amount of aid to the Pacific, and there were many other calls on this.

Mele Amanaki, the chairperson of the South Pacific Organisation of Councils of Trade Unions, or SPOCTU, last week told a Sydney meeting Pacific governments will lose vital tariff revenue if they join PACER-plus.