23 Oct 2009

Fiji demands reinstatement in PACER process

2:32 pm on 23 October 2009

The Fiji interim Government says it is giving the Pacific Islands Forum nations 30 days to re-instate it as a member of PACER - the Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations.

This comes as initial negotiations on an expanded version, PACER Plus, get underway in Brisbane, but Fiji, is excluded from those talks because of its suspension from the Pacific Islands Forum.

Don Wiseman has more

"PACER Plus is expected to broaden the earlier free trade deal involving the island countries into one allowing for a broader common market in goods and services, that also involves New Zealand and Australia. But Fiji's interim foreign minister, Ratu Inoke Kubuabola, says Fiji's illegal suspension amounts to a material breach and his government has no alternative but to suspend Part Two of the PACER agreement - it is under this clause that the parties are conducting the current negotiations. Ratu Inoke says full reinstatement of Fiji's rights under PACER would require the convening of a meeting of all PACER parties to retract the decision excluding it, the stopping of the launching of PACER Plus negotiations and an end to the recruitment process for a a chief trade advisor."