21 May 2013

Trade Minister signals PNG to pull out of PACER Plus

9:24 pm on 21 May 2013

The Papua New Guinea Trade Minister Richard Maru says he is not interested in committing to a trading agreement with New Zealand and Australia because the present trading relationship is unfair.

He says the imbalance with the island countries is so one sided, it is not funny.

Mr Maru says he will advise his government that PNG pull out of the trade talks on the Pacific Islands Forum's scheme to usher in a common market in goods and services, the Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations, or PACER Plus.

"Until I can trade on equal terms, on equal volumes, on equal value based goods and services with Australia and New Zealand, I am not going to waste my time. It has to be about mutually trading with each other. It is not about a one sided trading relationship anymore. Until such time as we build up the capacity to trade dollar for dollar with you, we are not interested."

Richard Maru.

The Pacific Islands Forum, which has been promoting PACER Plus for five years, had no comment on Mr Maru's stance.