Trade could help reduce hardship in the Pacific, but international trade rules are stacked in favour of rich countries. Aid and trade policies need to be used as tools to alleviate poverty, not undermine development in the Pacific.
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Current negotiations on the PACER-Plus regional free trade agreement between Pacific Island countries, Australia and New Zealand are edging closer to completion, with Pacific people most likely to lose out in the deal.
This week, trade ministers and officials from the 12 countries negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) meet in Maui in an attempt to finalise the agreement.
An opinion piece from Oxfam's Executive Director Barry Coates, as published in the New Zealand Herald on February 21, 2014
In the lead-up to the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) negotiations in Singapore February 22-25, Oxfam New Zealand is calling on the New Zealand Trade Minister, Tim Groser to end the secrecy and make negotiating drafts publicly available. The scope of the TPPA is wide ranging and will be significant for generations to come, not just in New Zealand but particularly for poor and marginalised people in the developing world.
Oxfam's Executive Director Barry Coates writes to Trade Minister regarding TPPA negotiations
Sustainable development that reduces poverty and inequalities in the Pacific is realistic and achievable, but a continuing challenge is ensuring that development strategies are inclusive of those most in need. Oxfam New Zealand initiated this research to deepen our understanding of the contribution that New Zealand businesses currently make to sustainable development in the Pacific. [PDF, 780 kb]
Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement – what they won’t tell us and why we should be worried for development.
Barry Coates, Executive Director of Oxfam New Zealand has been attending the Forum meetings in Rarotonga. He commented...
After a year of New Zealand’s role as Chair of the Pacific Islands Forum, the Cook Islands is about to pick up the baton for the next year. The region faces formidable challenges ahead and the Pacific’s regional institutions even more so. The forthcoming Pacific Islands Forum leaders meeting will be a crucial test of whether regionalism, government leadership and the Pacific institutions can step up to meet these challenges.
Oxfam welcomes the responsiveness of Pacific Islands Forum Leaders to climate change needs, civil society involvement and the UN Arms Trade Treaty. However, there have been tensions over the role of the Pacific Islands Forum in trade negotiations in the past, and it is crucial that there be greater levels of trust and accountability established between the Forum Secretariat and Pacific island nations.