PACER Plus Agreement Commits Australia, NZ To Duty-Free, Quota-Free Access For Pacific Products

Spokesman for negotiators says PICs still allowed to protect critical industries

By Felix Chaudhary

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, June 24, 2016) – Australia and New Zealand have undertaken legal commitments to continue providing duty-free and quota-free access to all products originating from Forum Island Countries under the Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations or PACER Plus.

This is according to a statement by lead spokespersons from Forum Island Countries on PACER Plus after negotiations held in Nadi last week.

The spokespersons — Joseph Ma'ahanua, lead speaker for the FICs on PACER Plus and deputy spokespersons Tessie Lambourne and Kulu Bloomfield — said Forum Island Countries were not required to extend the same courtesies to Australia and New Zealand.

"FICs do not have to extend the same treatment to goods originating from these two countries," the spokespersons said.

"In fact, most of us have excluded our sensitive products from liberalisation. In selecting the excluded products, we took into consideration products which generate a lot of revenue for our governments, the need to protect our infant industries from competition and the need to safeguard the health of our citizens."

Fiji Commerce and Employers Federation CEO Nesbitt Hazelman raised concerns about trade access under PACER Plus.

In an interview with this newspaper, he said local industries in the manufacturing sector had to be protected from similar goods manufactured in Australia and New Zealand.

He said this was critical to safeguard jobs and economic activity for developing nations like Fiji.

Fiji Times Online.
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