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Will PACER Plus go ahead without largest economy?

PNG key to trade deal

THE big question after PACER Plus talks in Brisbane this month will be simple – Do Pacific nations intend to carry on with this regional agreement without Papua New Guinea? On the first day of discussions, PNG was forthright in its comments on PACER Plus.

“PNG’s position is that it is not ready to sign PACER Plus, especially in its current form,” said Max Rai, outgoing PNG director general of trade and ambassador designate to the United Nations in a highly critical opening address. That position was not unexpected, according to island delegates who attended the closed-session talks.

“We understand PNG’s frustration but as for the rest of us we do need help from Australia and New Zealand in order to open up employment opportunities to our people,” one small island delegate said. “PNG does have a point but they have a much greater export base which is something the smaller nations don’t enjoy.” Ambassador Rai said his government would support other regional countries but PNG key to trade deal Will PACER Plus go ahead without largest economy?

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