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Fiji excluded from delayed trade deal

Fiji excluded from delayed trade deal article image
Australia has insisted on the exclusion of Fiji from the Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations (PACER Plus) regional trade talks despite some Pacific Island nations wanting Fiji included. Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs Stephen Smith says Fiji's move away from democracy has jeopardised its participation in the talks. "This is a discussion as part of the Pacific Island Forum. Because Fiji has moved away from democracy, it has been suspended from the forum and so as a consequence, it can't take part in those discussions," he explained. But PACER Plus negotiations stalled at the Forum Leaders Meeting in Cairns yesterday when the 14 leaders agreed to put the talks on hold. Pacific members of the African Caribbean and Pacific (PACP) said they required further studies and more thorough consultations before they can enter a deal. "We must ensure that we get a good product before we launch and not just launch for the sake of launching, said Toke Talagi, chair of the PACP Leaders group.

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