10 May 2009

Pacific trade meeting agrees to deeper integration - Minister

8:09 am on 10 May 2009

An informal meeting of Pacific Islands Forum members has agreed to deepen regional trade integration, says Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully.

The move is part of the Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations, which could see basic services such as education, energy and water supply island nations being provided by other countries.

Mr McCully, who chaired the Auckland meeting, says the participants expressed concern over the economic downturn and its effect on small and vulnerable members of the forum.

He says no pressure was put any of the small nations to agree with trade conditions set out by New Zealand or Australia, despite criticism of the meeting's mandate by non-governmental organisations.