- About bilaterals.org
- How to participate
- Key issues
- Texts of agreements
Pacific could be pushed into unwanted deals
- Shiu Raj, right, has a chat with Shaheen Ali during the meeting in Nadi yesterday. Picture: BALJEET SINGH
Fiji Times | August 07, 2012
Pacific could be pushed into unwanted deals
AS the start of trade talks on a comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the European Union nears, Pacific African Caribbean Pacific countries have been urged not to allow themselves to be forced into a deal that undermines each country’s independence.
While opening the two-day Pacific ACP States technical working group on fisheries in Nadi yesterday, permanent secretary for the Industry and Trade Ministry Shaheen Ali said member states could be pushed to accept a trade agreement that was not beneficial to them.
"Make no mistake, we the Pacific ACP States could be pushed to accept a trade agreement that is not to our benefit if we allow our unity and resolve to be weakened," said Mr Ali.
"It was only a few years ago, in 2007 that Fiji and Papua New Guinea were faced with a similar scenario, which was to agree to an interim EPA or face losing market access for important commodities such as sugar and fish," he said.
Mr Ali said the unreliability and uncertainty of unilateral agreements such as the EBA (Everything But Arms) and the EU GSP (Generalised Scheme of Preference) as fall back options further limited the region’s options.
"As we finalise our negotiating positions and strategies, we need to ask whether we will allow ourselves to be forced into a deal that undermines our independence and economic power as a unified group of sovereign nations," he said.
Mr Ali said the delayed response, the inflexible positions and new proposals at this late stage demonstrated the lack of seriousness to conclude negotiations on the side of the EU.
"Not only has the EU taken a hard-line on the Fisheries Chapter, but it has also proposed a new Chapter on ’Sustainable Development’ in the draft EPA legal text.
"This attempt to include new social and labour provisions to an economic and trade agreement, issues that are most appropriately addressed through other forums, seems to be an inappropriate and irresponsible at this point of negotiations.
"Yesterday, representatives from the Pacific ACP region were briefed on the issues related to the Legal Text on Fisheries and were updated on fisheries concerns in the EPA negotiations.
"The objective of the meeting was for fisheries and trade officials to consider various fisheries-related issues arising out of the EPA negotiations between the Pacific ACP States and the EU," he said.
News from the movements
An assessment of the possible implications of the EAC-EU EPA on Kenyan agricultural sector and its compatibility with the WTO rulesThe full implementation of EPA, may shift consumption away from local products, to EU goods.
9-Feb-2016 EDRiThe greatest concerns regarding TiSA involve the introduction of greater limitations on the government’s right to regulate and the inclusion of potentially harmful provisions for the protection of the fundamental rights to privacy and data protection.
8-Feb-2016 ITUCThe ITUC has called the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) a major setback for employment and workers’ rights prospects, and signaled the determination of unions in TPP countries to oppose it.
5-Feb-2016 MSFMSF urges all ASEAN member states to lead an effort to reject the ratification and implementation of the TPP and the expansion of its negative consequences for public health in the whole region.
5-Feb-2016 ISCKim-Hwang Kyeongsan, General Secretary of the Korean Woman Peasants’ Association, explains the government’s recent rice policy that hurts rice farmers and impacts Korea’s food sovereignty and how FTAs make it worse.
1-Feb-2016 War on WantGerman MPs will be granted restricted access to documents from secret EU-US trade negotiations. Access to the documents will only be possible under supervision.
1-Feb-2016 AFL-CIOThe U.S. government claims the labor protections in the Trans-Pacific Partnership are “gold standard,” but we need to look no further than Honduras to see how inadequate and unenforced labor obligations endanger workers’ lives.
28-Jan-2016 CAPThe Consumers’ Association of Penang (CAP) is shocked that the Government is making a mockery of Parliament by seeking a blank cheque for the country to be tied to the controversial Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA).
bilaterals.org is a collaborative space to share information and support movements struggling against bilateral trade and investment deals which serve corporations, not people. Multilingual. Global. No one owns it. Open publishing. Get involved.