22 Oct 2009

Pacific trade ministers urged to broaden approach

1:52 pm on 22 October 2009

Pacific trade ministers are being called on to ensure that negotiations on the PACER Plus regional agreement go further than just discussing trade.

The Ministers meet from tomorrow in Brisbane to layout a timeframe for the negotiations, which could eventually establish a common market in goods and services across the Pacific.

The Vanuatu-based Pacific Institute of Public Policy recognises the benefits that PACER Plus could bring the islands.

But its deputy director, Derek Brien, says to get a true picture of the potential impact - both positive and negative - discussions have to move beyond a focus on trade because it is much more than that.

"You really need to broaden the basis of stakeholders to be able to look at how you can build on the existing relationships of the Pacific Island countries and Australia and New Zealand to be able to bring about this notion of closer economic relations."

Derek Brien, of the Pacific Institute of Public Policy.