PACIFIC businesses will pay a high price from the current proposals in the regional trade agreement known as PACER-Plus, according to a report.
The report, released by the Pacific Network on Globalisation, details the dangers posed by PACER-Plus for Pacific livelihoods and how out of touch with the Pacific reality such free trade agreements are.
PACER-Plus will see Pacific Island countries making binding commitments on their import taxes, placing a ceiling on them all as well as planning their lowering over a number of years.
“PACER-Plus is sold as a great economic outcome for the Pacific but what we’re seeing is an agreement that is not being designed to support a dynamic Pacific economy,” Pacific Network on Globalisation campaigner Adam Wolfenden said.
“Rather, it is one that will allow the bigger companies from Australia and New Zealand to further their already significant interest in the markets of the region.”
The report titled “Bad for Business: How PACER-Plus is a price too high for Pacific livelihoods and businesses” warns that an agreement in its current form will see weak safeguards unable to best protect local industries, significant loss of revenue for Pacific governments, and a shrinking ability to support domestic producers.
“Safeguarding local and infant industries is crucial to creating vibrant economies that support domestic producers,” it said.
“Yet the mechanisms proposed by the chief trade adviser under PACER-Plus are too narrow.”