Ministers: No benefits in the ‘interim’ EPA

The Fiji Times Online:

Saturday, 18 July 2015

Pacific trade and fisheries ministers have called for commitment from the EU for political dialogue to find a mutually satisfactory conclusion for a comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement in 2015.

The call came yesterday at the Pacific ACP Trade and Fisheries Ministers Meeting in Suva, where the ministers also made further recommendations on the issue to their leaders to be endorsed at the forum leaders meeting in Port Moresby in September.

Fiji's Acting Minister for Trade Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said the ministers deliberated over recommendations made by officials from the respective member countries in the days preceding the meet.

"The ministers deliberated on the recommendations made by the officials, and the ministers have in fact reaffirmed a number of the critical issues that need to be taken into consideration and indeed followed in our negotiations with the Europeans," Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said.

He said the meeting unanimously affirmed the need for all countries to take part in the negotiation as one solid organisation to address the issues pertaining to outcomes of the comprehensive EPA.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said there were some issues that had been prolonged for 10 years that countries wanted to bring to a head.

Ministers say the interim EPA is not the preferable option for most parties because it has no development benefits, especially for smaller island states that may not be able to set up canneries.

Read story: The Fiji Times Online

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