New trade deal could divide Pacific – NZ MP


WELLINGTON, New Zealand-April 27: 11:22am(RNZI):A new Pacific trade deal could prove divisive in the region according to NZ Green Party MP Barry Coates.

The veteran of the aid and development sector is critical of the PACER PLUS agreement involving New Zealand and Australia and 12 island countries that is set to be signed in June.

But missing from it are the two biggest economies among the island nations, Papua New Guinea and Fiji.

While PACER is being touted by Australia and New Zealand as a great deal for the island countries, Mr Coates said they get few benefits.

The MP said the deal also goes against the emphasis placed on regionalism by Australia and New Zealand.

“They have put a lot of their aid programmes in the past to promote regionalism but now they have signed a trade deal that misses out on the two major countries,” Mr Coates said.

“And I think it stands to potentially drive a wedge between the Pacific and I think it is a very unhealthy dynamic to have.”

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