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PNG likely to pull out of PACER Plus

13:05 Yesterday

Taken from/By: FBC News
Report by: Christopher Chand

Papua New Guinea is likely to put the PACER Plus negotiations in the back seat giving the Melanesian Spearhead Group trade agreement priority as the bloc continues to gain momentum.

PNG Trade Minister Richard Maru has revealed their desire to pull out of the regional (PACER Plus) trade agreement with Australia and New Zealand.

He says they don’t see any benefit in the PACER Plus, labeling it as ‘a waste of time’.

Right now if we enter into such an arrangement it will be one sided all the goods will be coming from Australia and New Zealand into the Pacific market. At the moment we are not really doing much trading with Australia and New Zealand. We can’t even sell taro there, we have no capacity to sell our greens it’s all one sided traffic so what’s the point of going into a trading arrangement with Australia and New Zealand. There is nothing to begin for us so rather than wasting time on it lets focus on what’s important for us and that’s the MSG trading bloc.

Maru says he will be making his recommendations to the PNG government before they make a stand on the PACER Plus.

MSG Trade Ministers Chair Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum says they will also have to relook at the Pacific Island Countries Trade Agreement (PICTA).

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We like to essentially highlight the prominence that needs to be given to the MSG the next step is of cause PICTA . PICTA has hardly worked it’s been there on the table for a number of years so really you need to be strong and be able to function amongst your peers first then you can include those from the outside and obviously Fiji will be working through those positions.

Vanuatu Trade Minister Marcellino Pipite says they will discuss the issue of PACER Plus with his government adding that the focus is on maximizing the MSG Trade Agreement.

Solomon Islands High Commissioner to Fiji John Patterson Oti says Pacific countries are committing a lot of time into the PACER Plus and the EPA negotiations with the EU.

The MSG Trade Ministers met for the first time in Nadi yesterday.

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