Trade deal worthless without PNG or Fiji says economist, but NZ boasts of benefits

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.

For more information 

One less seat at PACER Plus table as Vanuatu pulls out ahead of Tongan  ceremony

Economist says PACER Plus without PNG and Fiji is worthless 

Sometimes when a business is growing, it needs a little help.

Right now Kaniva News provides a free, politically independent, bilingual news service for readers around the world that is absolutely unique. We are the largest New Zealand-based Tongan news service, and our stories reach Tongans  wherever they are round the world. But as we grow, there are increased demands on Kaniva News for translation into Tongan on our social media accounts and for the costs associated with expansion. We believe it is important for Tongans to have their own voice and for Tongans to preserve their language, customs and heritage. That is something to which we are strongly committed. That’s why we are asking you to consider sponsoring our work and helping to preserve a uniquely Tongan point of view for our readers and listeners.

Latest news

Related news