Friday, 23 September 2011 9:13 AM

Independence of Trade Office Required

Solomon Islands says that the independence and integrity of the Pacific's Trade Advisory Office is a priority for the region and should not be undermined by Australian funding decisions.

The office of the Chief Trade Advisor was set up to give Pacific countries independent advice as they face up to Australia and New Zealand in negotiations for the proposed PACER Plus trade agreement.

Solomon Islands Permanent Secretary for Foreign Affairs Robert Sisilo says Australia should not use its funding to compromise that independence.

Mr Sisilo says Pacific leaders have made it clear the work of the Office should be overseen solely by the Pacific nations.

Mr Sisilo says Australia's insistence that its funding be subject to quarterly reviews would provide unacceptable opportunities to exert financial pressure.