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New Pacific trade pact goes against the protectionist tide

But 14-nation deal may be largely symbolic without Fiji and Papua New Guinea

Representatives of the 14 PACER Plus nations in Brisbane, Australia, on April 20 (Courtesy of Office of New Zealand Minister of Trade Negotiations)

AUCKLAND With international trade deals around the world breaking down, a new pact among 14 Pacific nations offers hope of progress even if its impact is likely to be mostly symbolic.

Australia, New Zealand and 12 smaller island nations are to sign the Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations, known as PACER Plus, in Tonga on June 16. Ministers reached a final agreement on the terms in Brisbane, Australia, on April 20.

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