Australia: Don't Push PACER

Original Publication Date: 
9 June, 2009

Next week, Australia's Trade Minister Simon Crean will attend the Pacific Island Forum Trade Ministers Meeting in Apia, Samoa. At this meeting trade ministers will make recommendations regarding the timing for potential negotiations for a trade agreement as well as what support will be available for the Pacific Island Countries. Australia must not use this meeting to pressure Pacific Island nations into accepting a timeframe that undercuts the development future of the Pacific.

The Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations (PACER-Plus) will have enormous impacts on the Pacific as they open up their markets to more Australian and New Zealand goods, services and investment. Current modelling predicts that Pacific governments stand to lose up to 17 per cent of their revenue as tariffs are reduced, jeopardising the provision of essential services.
There is yet to be any widespread research, consultation and analysis of the impacts of PACER. With one academic predicting that 80 per cent of Pacific manufacturing will close down under PACER, forcing thousands out of work, governments need time to assess the environmental, social, regulatory, and cultural impacts of any PACER-Plus agreement before deciding whether or not to enter into negotiations.

See sample letter here: http://aftinet.org.au/cms/take-action-dont-push-pacer