7 Aug 2009

No time frame given at Forum gathering on Pacer-plus negotiations

6:13 am on 7 August 2009

Negotiations for a regional trade deal for the 16 Pacific Island Forum countries will proceed, but no specific time frame has been agreed on.

Formal negotiations on the deal known as Pacer Plus were expected to be launched at this weeks meeting, but there was questions over Fiji's involvement and reluctance from some of the smaller states.

The forum's new chair, Australia's prime minister, Kevin Rudd, says only the 15 countries represented at the meeting in Cairns will be involved in talks at a ministerial level.

"We've discussed specific officials level mechanisms to continue to keep the administration in Fiji informed of developments of those ministerial level negotiations which will occur between all other governments."

Kevin Rudd was unable to give a time frame for the beginning of negotiations, saying simply soon.