5 May 2009

Pacific trade talks to proceed without Fiji

9:05 am on 5 May 2009

New Zealand Trade Minister Tim Groser says that it is important planned discussions on Pacific Islands Forum trade agreements go ahead, despite the absence of Fiji.

Fiji will not be represented at an informal meeting of Pacific trade ministers this weekend because of its suspension from the Pacific Forum.

The expansion of the Pacific's Closer Economic Relations agreement is due to be discussed at the meeting in Auckland.

A non-government organisation, Arena, which is opposed to the deal, says the talks are pointless without one of the main trading nations in the Pacific.

But Mr Groser says negotiations will probably take years and there are hopes that full relations with Fiji will eventually be restored.