Tonga said New Zealand and Australia have its full support in processing the PACER Plus trade agreement.
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Ministry of Labour and Commerce, Edgar Cocker said the government was working closely with the two countries to revise regulations and frameworks in readiness for the exportation of goods from Tonga to New Zealand and Australia.
Cocker said Tonga is expecting training and technical works as part of the work it did on the preparation process.
“Tonga is in full support of the PACER Plus Agreement,” Cocker told Kaniva News.
“We are currently working closely with NZ and Australia on implementation of the readiness package which includes the revision of the regulatory framework in Tonga and other Pacific Island Countries, the implementation of the trading and export framework, and many more activities to come forward including training attachment, and other technical works, as stipulated,” he said in an email.
“These are to enhance export development from Tonga to NZ and Australia.”
Cocker’s comment came after a report by Matangi Tonga online on March 26 reported the Prime Minister ‘Akilisi Pohiva told local reporters in a press conference the kingdom was no longer interested in the PACER Plus trade deal.
Hon. Pohiva has vehemently denied the report.
“The PACER Plus and its Alternatives outline the region’s current trading arrangements and trade flows, before investigating the options available for a new economic cooperation agreement that is likely to benefit, rather than harm, the Pacific’s development prospects.”
However some analysts said the planned trade deal with Pacific Island nations could be extremely damaging to their economies.
Dr. Cleo Paskal told Radio New Zealand International the New Zealand and Australian authorities were unaware of what was happening with PACER Plus.