Ali opens Pacific ACP Trade and officials meet

Fiji will try to ensure that it's people especially in the sugar industry continue to enhance their livelihoods and will not be adversely affected by the trading partnership between the Pacific countries and the European Union.

Permanent Secretary for Trade and Investment Shaheen Ali made these comments while opening the Pacific ACP Trade and officials meeting in Suva.

One of the main topics of discussion in this meeting is concluding a well negotiated Economic Partnership Agreement with the European Union.

Ali said Fiji understands the withdrawal of the Market Access Regulation later this year.

The Economic Partnership Agreements are trade and development agreements negotiated between the EU and African, Caribbean and Pacific regions engaged in a regional economic integration process.

The EU concluded an Interim Partnership Agreement with Papua New Guinea and Fiji in 2007.

The agreement was ratified by the European Parliament in January 2011 and by PNG in May 2011.

Fiji is yet to implement the agreement and has access to the EU under the Market Access Regulation.

Shaheen Ali said the Pacific needs a well negotiated agreement and the ACP countries have to put aside their differences.

He said since June last year there has been significant developments in negotiations but not all of them have been positive towards achieving a successful outcome.

Ali added that instead of addressing the existing issues the EU has made new demands which threatens to dilute what was already agreed in the interim economic partnership agreement which led to the non participation of PNG in the negotiations and caused disunity in the group.

The EU is currently negotiating a comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement with all fourteen countries in the region.

(Source: Fijivillage.com)