SUNBIZ

‘We Cannot Afford To Let This Agreement Fail’

“PICTA is the only formal trade agreement that provides a pathway to bind the region into a strong trading bloc.
12 Feb 2020 14:25
‘We Cannot Afford To Let This Agreement Fail’
Permanent Secretary for Industry, Trade and Tourism Shaheen Ali at the Pacific African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Trade Officials meeting

Out of 14 Forum Island Countries, only seven have implemented the Pacific Islands Countries Trade Agreement (PICTA).

This was revealed by the Permanent Secretary for Industry, Trade and Tourism Shaheen Ali while officiating at the Pacific African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Trade Officials meeting at the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat yesterday.

Mr Ali said since the last Pacific ACP meeting, a lot has happened in the global arena.

“The trade war between the United States and China has weakened the global economy.

“The United Kingdom has formally left the European Union (Brexit).

“Instabilities in the Middle East, Asia, and Latin America intensify public anxiety.

“The World Health Organisation declared Coronavirus, an international public health emergency and the impact of climate change is becoming ever more pronounced than ever before.

“Global economic growth shrank from 3.7 per cent in 2018 to 3.2 per cent in 2019, reflecting the link between trade and geopolitical tensions.

Mr Ali added that amidst these global phenomena, it was important to maintain trade bond and solidarity.

“In this regard, we need to start with the implementation of our regional trade agreement.

“PICTA is the only formal trade agreement that provides a pathway to bind the region into a strong trading bloc.

“I am sure you are all aware of the state of the agreement bears direct correlation to that of our integration. We cannot afford to let this agreement fail,” he said.

Economic Partnership Agreement

Mr Ali further noted, with regards to Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), “Post Cotonou and our trade and development relations with EU, I call on us to relook at these issues with vigour and devoid of any remnants of fatigue and frustrations of the past.

“We need to question the current balance of our relationship with the EU when considering committing to the EPAs and negotiating the successor to the Cotonou Agreement.

“The EU has been a crucial development partner in the region. However, they have also taken harmful unilateral actions in declaring some of our tax jurisdictions unfavourable and our fisheries unsustainable.

“Going forward, we would like to see a change in the dynamics of our relations, which should be based on mutual respect and equal partnership.”

Queries sent to the Political, Trade, Press and Information Section of the Delegation of the European Union for the Pacific remained unanswered when this edition when to press.

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