A prominent regional economist says that without PNG or Fiji, the PACER Plus agreement, which was signed in Tonga last week, is worthless.
Dr Wadan Narsey told the ABC that in the long run, the Island’s largest economies might prefer dealing with China and Indonesia.
But New Zealand Prime Minister Bill English described the absence of Vanuatu, Fiji and Papua New Guinea from the ceremony in Nuku’alofa only as “disappointing.’
As Kaniva News reported last week, Vanuatu said it would not sign the regional trade agreement until it had read the 1000 page agreement properly.
“It’s a bit unclear to us exactly what their objections are because it’s an agreement which gives a very long period of time in which to adjust trading regimes and quite a lot of assistance building the infrastructure that helps with the trade,” English said.
New Zealand Trade Minister Todd McClay said he was not worried about the absence of Vanuatu, Fiji and PNG.
He said the agreement would help develop the countries which signed through trade and raise their standard of living.
There would be an immediate benefit from a $55 million New Zealand-Australian aid package.
However, the trade deal has been the subject of continued criticism, with claims that Australia and New Zealand would benefit the most.
The Federated States of Micronesia, Marshall Islands and Palau were also absent from Wednesday’s signing ceremony, but due to transport issues rather than political differences.
The main points
- New Zealand Prime Minister Bill English has described the absence of Vanuatu, Fiji and Papua New Guinea from the PACER Plus signing in Nuku’alofa as “disappointing.’
- But a prominent regional economist, Dr Wadan Narsey, said that without PNG and Fiji, the regional trade agreement was worthless.
- He told the ABC that in the long run, the Island’s largest economies might prefer dealing with China and Indonesia.
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