SUNBIZ

Continuation Of Comprehensive EPA Talks With EU Supported

Fiji has requested support of the ACP (African Caribbean Pacific) Ministers to call on the European Union to show flexibility and re-engage on the comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement negotiations. The
30 Jun 2015 11:00
Continuation Of Comprehensive EPA Talks With EU Supported
The Minister for Industry, Trade and Tourism, Faiyaz Siddiq Koya, during the meeting in Brussels.

Fiji has requested support of the ACP (African Caribbean Pacific) Ministers to call on the European Union to show flexibility and re-engage on the comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement negotiations.
The request was made by the Minister for Industry, Trade and Tourism, Faiyaz Siddiq Koya, as he led a Fijian delegation in Brussels, Belgium, the past week. The first meeting was the ACP Ministerial Trade Committee Meeting held from June 24 to 25. This was followed by a Joint Ministerial Trade Committee Meeting between the ACP and the European Union on June 26.
The request follows earlier announcement by the EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström of her proposal to return to the would-be comprehensive regional EPA in three years time.
Mr Koya called for constructive reengagement at the highest political level with the Pacific to facilitate the conclusion of a development-friendly comprehensive EPA.
He said this should be one that reflects the unique and special circumstances of the respective regions.
“The EU needs to be reminded of their commitment of providing the remaining ACP regions, including the Pacific States, with an agreement that is not a traditional free trade agreement,” he said.
“But an agreement that allows for the development of the ACP parties.”
Mr Koya highlighted Fiji was provisionally applying the Interim EPA to ensure unfettered access for our sugar export to the EU.
But, he stressed, Fiji, together with other Pacific ACP States, is still very much committed to concluding a development friendly and mutually-beneficial comprehensive EPA with the EU.
In response, Ms Malmström indicated willingness to consider the Pacific’s proposals.
The delegation also includes the Permanent Secretary for Industry, Trade and Tourism, Shaheen Ali, Fijian Ambassador to Brussels, Deo Saran and other Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism officials.

Fundamental objectives
Mr Ali stated one of the fundamental objectives of the Economic Partnership Agreement was to promote and strengthen regional integration.
He made these comments while presented the Pacific ACP position to the Senior Officials Meeting on June 22.
“The Pacific ACP always been committed to ensure that we remain united as a single region as we advance the EPA negotiations,” he said.
“At the same time, given the specific and special circumstance of each Pacific ACP State, parties need to be allowed to make commitments at “variable” pace, as per the agreed principles of these negotiations.”

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