18 Mar 2014

Chief trade advisor says 'premature' to speculate over PACER Plus

4:26 pm on 18 March 2014

The Pacific's chief trade advisor says he believes the proposed PACER Plus trade deal will benefit Vanuatu and other Pacific countries, despite comments to the contrary.

The Vanuatu Daily Post has reported a specialist on Pacific trade issues saying the deal will not really help Vanuatu, due to the potentially high costs and because Vanuatu already has tariff free access to Australia and New Zealand.

But Edwini Kessie, who provides support for the island countries in their negotiations with Australia and New Zealand, says it is too premature for such speculation.

"We are still in the process of negotiating and until and unless we have the final result then it will be speculative at this stage for anybody to say that it will not benefit this country or this country will lose from that."

Dr Kessie says he is optimistic that PACER Plus can really help Pacific countries by facilitating trade and investment.

Negotiations began in 2009 but Dr Kessie says he hopes the deal will be wrapped up by the end of next year.