Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Academic calls for labour integration with NZ & Australia

Fiji Times - Tuesday, November 30, 2010

THERE is a need for deepened integration of the labour market between small Pacific island countries with Australia and New Zealand, says an academic.
University of New South Wales Professor Satish Chand said the case for deeper integration of the services sector and tourism, in particular, were strong.
He made the comment at a conference titled Future Challenges, Ancient Solutions: What can we learn from the past about managing the future in the Pacific.
"Several, albeit not all, Pacific island nations have a revealed comparative advantage in hosting tourists," he said.
"Them grouping together to provide a complete package to tourists of island experience has the potential to increase the size of the market and diversify the sources of tourists.
"Such integration is to be foundered on deepened transportation and communication links across island nations that have displayed a relative comparative advantage in the sector.
"Regional policy makers have a role in facilitating the integration of regional tourism."
Prof. Chand said such unilateral trade agreements could benefit small Pacific island countries and Australia and New Zealand.
"Crude computations suggest that the gains from freer flows of workers across the region could raise income substantially in the islands while, if managed appropriately, benefit the host nations of Australia and New Zealand as well," he said.
"The challenge is seeing this proposal through to implementation is in overcoming the political sensitivities to immigration in Australia and New Zealand."
"The potential harm to wages and employment conditions of workers in Australia and New Zealand from a gradual easing of inflows from the islands is likely to be small while the gains are substantial."



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