Gubba Trade minister backs Pacific trade talks

"So in many senses, PACER can be a mini-Dohor. It can be a trade and aid development approach".

Same neo liberal shit as howard, let us plunder your resources or no "aid". Strategic & economic "interests" in the Pacific have not changed a bit since invasion. PACER, PICTA, APEC, G20, NAFTA, we know what this free trade really means to us in the Pacific, destroying and defiling our lands, our oceans our culture in an insatiable greed for resources. Neo colonisation and control of Pacific through aid and the training of government officials, the military and the police.

Even worse is the actu condoning migrant worker schemes for the pacific islands. When unionists start sounding like pr consultants for neo liberals, you have to worry.

"Like every other part of the globe, the tiny island states of the South Pacific have become arenas for intensifying rivalry between the major powers. As well as being rich in resources, including oil and gas, the region has immense strategic significance."

Australia's Trade Minister Simon Crean is in Papua New Guinea today to participate in trade negotiations. It's a small part of the overall meeting but important for the Pacific.


Presenter: Karon Snowdon
Speaker: Australia's trade minister, Simon Crean

CREAN: PACER is the Pacific area, CER, the free trade agreement if you like for the Pacific. I am very keen to advance it, because I think that in the Pacific, we need to build an economic self-sufficiency for the Pacific Islands and we can do that by opening up trade, but also engaging the Pacific Islands in technical transfers, obviously ensuring that our aid programs are supportive of assisting them build their infrastructure, build their capacities. So in many senses, PACER can be a mini-Dohor. It can be a trade and aid development approach.

SNOWDON: There's less enthusiasm on the other side of the table though for obvious reasons in that they've got favourable trade conditions now without PACER, that they might lose if those talks are confirmed?

CREAN: Well again, I think this is the concern that people have in trade by looking at it from a defensive perspective. There's clearly many more benefits from opening up trade. The reality is that world trade is growing three times faster than world output. If countries want to secure their economic future, whether they're developed countries or developing countries, the message is simple. You've got to engage in trade because that's where there are more opportunities. How do we create those opportunities and keep building the opportunities, we keep liberalising the barriers that restrict trade.

Now out of all of that, countries find their specialities, their niches, the comparative advantages and there are many within the Pacific area.

Our task is to ensure that they have got the capacity to take advantage of it. So the opening of trade advantage is only one dimension. Building their capacity is another and Australia and New Zealand are in very strong positions to assist them in that regard.

SNOWDON: The trial seasonal worker program looks more promising now. Will PNG and East Timor be included in that, workers from those countries included in that?

CREAN: Well, we're watching with interest the trial that New Zealand has conducted and we're making our own assessment of its impact in the Australian context, that's something that we're interested to follow. But in the context of PACER, I've got no doubt that this will be an issue that is raised by the Pacific nations. It's something we have to respond to in a sensible way. But we're not going to do that in advance of seeing how the trial works and we're not going to do it in advance of a more comprehensive approach to the whole aid and trade perspective in the Pacific.

SNOWDON: And, the big trade union here, the Australian Workers Union has thrown its weight behind a seasonal workers scheme here in Australia. Is that encouraging?

CREAN: Well, it is encouraging, but I think again it's terribly important that when we develop these approaches, we explain what the basis for them is, what the rational behind them is so that people don't see them from threatening perspective's, but see them as part of a much broader agenda to open up and make more self-sufficient the Pacific. Because it's in all of our interests that we develop their economic sustainability, because that's the lasting basis upon which we can build security in the region to.

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