Tariffs Counter APEC Free Trade

By : Post Courier

THE recent moves to increase more than 900 tariffs run counter to the principles of APEC, which champions free and open trade.

This is according to the Opposition, who says the O’Neill Government should review its approach to trade as a matter of urgency so that it does not contradict priority APEC resolutions.

Shadow Minister for Treasury, Ian Ling-Stuckey, said the recent senior official’s meeting in Port Moresby highlighted APEC’s support for a rules-based, free, open, fair, transparent and inclusive multilateral trading system.

“We need to be true to APEC’s mission of ‘championing free and open trade and investment, promoting and accelerating regional economic integration,” Mr Ling-Stuckey said.

“The O’Neill Government needs to urgently review its approaches to trade as the recent moves to increase more than 900 tariffs run counter to the principles of APEC.

“We do not want to come across as hypocrites as we host this meeting, otherwise that would really be wasting opportunities from what will be an expensive summit for PNG.

“We should urgently finish the proposed second stage of the Sir Nagora Tax Review, which indicated it would look at the issue of tariffs, certainly in a more systematic and efficient manner than the recent government changes.

“We should look at better policies to get per capita growth going again and ensure the benefits are spread across our rural communities, not just some isolated projects benefitting a few.

“We need to think about getting our agricultural products to the markets of all countries in APEC, not just PNG supermarkets under protectionist barriers.

“With PNG hosting the APEC Summit in November 2018, it is important that we seize its opportunities for promoting PNG and advancing our development.

“While the Alternative Government considers that there were much better ways to promote PNG and all it has to offer, and wiser ways to invest the huge costs for the summit into health, education and infrastructure, it is now too late and it would be too embarrassing to pull out from hosting the Leaders Summit.”There are some important things we need to do to make the most of this opportunity.”

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