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Local businesses will be the worst affected if Tonga signs PACER PLUS despite the many advantages cited

Radio & TV Tonga, Nuku’alofa, 06/10/2017


The CEO of the Ministry of Labour – Edgar Cocker believes, if Tonga signs the PACER PLUS agreement it will have huge impact on local businesses.


PACER PLUS is an agreement that eases trade between the Pacific Islands with Australia and NZ.


This agreement will allow easy access to products from both New Zealand and Australia into Pacific islands Tonga Included.


Speaking to Radio and Television Tonga News, Edgar says, he’s aware of the many benefits that will follow if Tonga signs the agreement but at the same time he’s certain that this will have many impacts on small businesses in Tonga and other Pacific Islands.


Products made in our small countries will have to compete with those from Fiji for example because they have better quality products such as timber.   The kingdom’s businesses will gradually fail and eventually give up the ghost because people here will go for cheaper and better quality imported products.


He says, there’re still heaps of consultation and work to be carried out by government before making the decision on the matter.


This includes seeking ways that Australia and New Zealand can use to help local businesses if they’re badly affected by PACER PLUS, such as upgrading  knowledge, skills and technologies to be used to manufacture or produce products that are of high quality for export .


© Radio and Television Tonga News