Tonga will host the signing of the PACER Plus agreement in June.

Radio New Zealand reported that the deal included a $US38 million development package for Pacific island countries to increase their export capacity.

Negotiations have been going on for eight years. The two largest Island economies, Fiji and Papua New Guinea, pulled out of the trade deal.

The 14 countries participating will sign the agreement in Tonga in June.

PACER Plus is meant to enhance the economic development of Pacific island countries through greater regional trade and economic integration with Australia and New Zealand.

However, critics have said that it will still leave Australia and New Zealand dominating the regional economy and that very few benefits will flow through to ordinary Pacific islanders.

They have also said that Island nations will lose income from tariffs on imported goods as part of the free trade deal.

Radio New Zealand reported that the trade deal would include a $US38 million development package for Pacific island countries to increase their export capacity.

The 12 island nations which will sign the deal in June already have duty free access to Australian and New Zealand markets.

However, New Zealand Trade Minister, Todd McClay  said PACER Plus allowed Pacific island countries to gradually phase out tariffs on imports.

“This is a development and trade agreement and we recognise whilst trade will provide much more for Pacific island economies, at the same time we have to help them get ready for some of the opportunities and benefits the agreement will deliver,” McClay said.

The 12 Island nations expected to sign the PACER Plus agreement are the Cook Islands,the  Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Kiribati, Niue, Palau, the Republic of Marshall Islands, Samoa, the Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu.

The main points

  • Tonga will host the signing of the PACER Plus agreement in June.
  • Negotiations have been going on for eight years. The two largest Island economies, Fiji and Papua New Guinea, pulled out of the trade deal.
  • PACER Plus is meant to enhance the economic development of Pacific island countries through greater regional trade and economic integration with Australia and New Zealand.
  • However, critics have said that it will still leave Australia and New Zealand dominating the regional economy.

For more information

PACER Plus negotiations concluded

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