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Pacific islands to bear costs of PACER-Plus

PACIFIC island governments must retain their right to regulate to protect their national development interests as sovereign states, argues a report commissioned by the Pacific Network on Globalisation (PANG) on the social impact assessment of regional trade, PACER-Plus.

The report titled, Defending Pacific ways of life: A Peoples Social Impact Assessment of PACER-Plus, calls on Pacific government to protect the ownership and control of land, natural resources and environment, as well as the social and economic rights of their people ahead of the empty development promises from Australia and New Zealand and walk away from the regional PACER-Plus negotiations.

The report, comprising of four assessments from leading academics in Fiji, New Zealand and Australia, examines the impacts of PACER-Plus on gender, health, food and national sovereignty, thus, providing Pacific governments, negotiators, parliamentarians, civil society actors, customary landowners and the private sector with an alternative assessment to the impacts that PACER-Plus will have on the region.

PANG Coordinator Maureen Penjueli said that the assessment, based on leaked negotiating text, warns of the very serious implications that PACER-Plus poses to island countries in the region and urges Forum Island Countries to consider the assessment particularly against the backdrop of emerging new research on the economic costs of non-communicable diseases, growing impact of increase in VAT especially for poor communities and the transition of least developed countries.

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