November 6, 2011

Moana Nui and Fair Trade Partnerships in the Pacific

Important travel and trade practices that have long formed extended exchange communities of Oceania will be the focus of the upcoming Moana Nui summit of Pacific Islanders to be held in Honolulu, Hawaii November 9, 10, and 11, 2011.

These practices are endangered by a proposed trade agreement comparable to NAFTA, but encompassing countries on the Pacific Rim rather than those in North America. The proposed agreement, known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), would have the same devastating impacts on local production networks, trading practices, and populations in the Pacific Rim, as NAFTA on jobs, farms, and other sectors in North America. The United States has drafted Australia, Brunei, Chile, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam into developing the TPP; the number of nations might increase as the conservative trade organization, Asian Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), meets in Honolulu to attempt to finalize language for the TPP.

The topics and the content of the many preliminary discussions leading to the APEC meeting in Honolulu have been kept secret, thereby violating transparency protocols of democratic governments and U.S. President Obama’s explicit promise that the TPP discussions would usher in a new era of transparency in international trade agreement discussions.