10 Jun 2009

Samoa trade ministers meeting about economic development, says Groser

12:14 pm on 10 June 2009

The New Zealand trade minister, Tim Groser, says next week's meeting of Pacific trade ministers in Samoa is about prioritising the economic development of the island countries.

Mr Groser says both Australia annd New Zealand want progress on the enhanced version of the Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations, dubbed PACER-Plus, which would herald an eventual common market for goods and services.

Unions and NGOs have been critical of the push being made by Australia and New Zealand to complete the PACER-Plus negotiations but Mr Groser says both countries see this as the way the economies of the island nations can be moved forward.

"What we want to do is ensure that it is not just a trade agreement, highly technical, [that] no one really understands bar the officials who have negotiated it, you dust your hands off and go home and that's it. We actually want to then provide them with economic development assistance to take advantage of a common market if we can establish that and actually start to create some export jobs in these countries."

Tim Groser