The Pacific's chief trade adviser in the PACER Plus negotiations says Australia and New Zealand will allow the island countries to charge tariffs to protect their struggling industries.
Edwini Kessie says the infant industry clause has been agreed to in principle and if finalised will allow island nations to choose areas they would like to tax, with the possibility of re-instating tariffs on industries previously classified as duty free.
Dr Kessie says the clause will make for a unique agreement.
"But here again I need to stress too that for countries to benefit from trade agreements, they need themselves to carry out the necessary reforms. An agreement per se is not a panacea for any country. They would need to also put in place the appropriate policies for them to be able to benefit from the agreement."
Dr Kessie says the aim is to have the deal completed by the middle of next year.