Meeting to discuss way forward

The Fiji Times:

Friday, April 11 2014

More than 25 representatives from the Pacific-African Caribbean Pacific (PACP) states attended the PACP trade and fisheries ministerial meeting in Suva yesterday to discuss progress of the economic partnership agreement (EPA) negotiations with the European Union.

Secretariat of the Pacific Community deputy director general Fekita 'Utoikamanu said it was important to have an agreement in the EPA negotiations to progress their engagement with the EU and assist Pacific countries with their trade agreements.

"We need your guidance on this matter to ensure that the commitment we make will significantly benefit the Pacific region," she said at Suvavou House.

She said the two-day meet would be based on trade opportunities and discussing unsolved issues that needed further direction and assistance.

Meanwhile, Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat deputy secretary general Andie Fong Toy said EU trade commissioner Karel De Gucht acknowledged last year it was impractical for the EU not to extend the benefits from the interim EPA into the comprehensive EPA.

"Last year was a very challenging year for the Pacific ACP-EU EPA negotiations as we made intense efforts to progress the conclusion of the negotiations," Ms Fong Toy said.

Read story: The Fiji Times

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