The Spark July 2009
New Zealand and Australian trade ministers met with their Pacific counterparts in Samoa to negotiate an “enhanced version” of the Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations (PACER) dubbed “PACER Plus”. The negotiations have been controversial for two reasons, one is the exclusion of Fiji, which New Zealand and Australia currently have sanctions against. Fiji has been officially suspended from the Pacific Forum but not from PACER, which is a separate treaty.
The other reason is the likely possibility of increased exploitation of the Pacific by the regional powers. As Solomon Islands opposition leader Manasseh Sogavare told the Solomon Star News;
“As far as Solomon Islands is concerned, the arrangement would amount to opening up one-way traffic of trade benefits from here to Australia and New Zealand, which in any case is already in favour of these countries without the PLACER-PLUS arrangement” Read the rest of this entry »