7 Aug 2015

OCTA defends PACER Plus process

4:07 pm on 7 August 2015

The Office of the Chief Trade Advisor to the Pacific says NGOs' concerns about the PACER Plus trade agreement being unbalanced are unfounded and inaccurate.

The latest talks on the free trade agreement conclude today in Samoa but have faced calls from the Pacific Network on Globalisation that they be suspended and the negotiation texts published.

The Chief Trade Advisor to the Pacific Edwini Kessie says such a hardline approach does not help the development of free trade in the region.

"If they do have genuine concerns obviously we would like to address them but some of them I think, if they say that the agreement is unbalanced because Australia and New Zealand would just be making promises, there is no truth to that. And I think that is a distortion of what the situation really is."

Dr Kessie says a meeting to engage with NGOs and allow them to voice their concerns about the agreement is being planned for later in the year.

Noumea port, New Caledonia.

Who will benefit from Pacific regional trade agreements? Photo: RNZ / Johnny Blades