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Countries determined to protect sugar benefits

Fiji Times, Suva

Countries determined to protect sugar benefits

1 May 2007

The African, Carribean, Pacific countries are determined to safeguard the benefits the Sugar Protocol provided and would explore avenues to uphold its position, says ACP Sugar Ministerial chairman Dr Arvin Boolell.

The ACP and European Union needed to ensure that future Economic Partnership Agreements were instruments for sustainable development, he said.

Speaking at the 10th ACP Sugar Ministerial meeting in Nadi yesterday, he said the treatment of the Sugar Protocol in future EPAs was like throwing away the baby with the bathwater.

He cautioned that any EPA negotiations should improve on the current market access situation so that no ACP State was worse off in the end.

"Anything less will be unacceptable and unethical," he said.

"Therefore, this is something on which there cannot be and should not be any compromise."

He welcomed the EU’s support to finance ACP members’ adaptation strategic plans.

He said the recent EC offer on market access under EPA would have serious negative effects on the implementation of the strategic plans for most ACP states.

"We, therefore, would like to appeal to the EU to pay particular attention to this."