26 Apr 2017

NZ Green MP says little in PACER Plus for Pacific countries

5:29 pm on 26 April 2017

A New Zealand Green Party member of parliament says there are few benefits for Pacific island countries in the about to be completed PACER Plus trade deal.

Barry Coates

Barry Coates Photo: Supplied

The MP, Barry Coates, said most of the gains would go to New Zealand and Australia.

He said market access was still denied for many fruits and vegetables, particularly into Australia, there was no long-term commitment on visas for seasonal labourers and only a fraction of the aid needed for the island countries to build their exporting capacity.

Mr Coates, who had previously worked in the aid and development sector as head of OXFAM in New Zealand, said the PACER deal, from when it was first mooted 16 years ago, was always meant to be for the people of the island countries.

"However, from what we see in this final form it appears that there are very few benefits for the Pacific. The Pacific has ended up taking on most of the obligations of a very traditional free trade agreement but without the benefits."

The PACER Plus deal is due to be signed in June in Tonga.

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