Ministers endorse Multilateral Fisheries Partnership Agreement
Nov 15, 2006
Pacific Island Countries now have a draft Multilateral Fisheries Partnership Agreement (MFPA) to negotiate with the European Union (EU) as part of the region’s Economic Partnership Agreement.(EPA)
A joint meeting of Pacific ACP Trade and Fisheries Ministers endorsed in principle the draft legal text for the MFPA in Vanuatu after consideration of recommendations from their officials
“The draft MFPA text is very clear on what the Pacific ACP countries want in return for giving the European Union access to their fisheries resources and urges EU to respond positively when the proposed text is sent to it for consideration,” Vanuatu’s Trade Minister James Bule said
“Endorsement of the legal text of the MFPA in principle is a clear indication by the PACPS that the region is serious about progressing its negotiation of an Economic Partnership Agreement with the EU before the closing deadline at the end of 2007,” Mr Bule said.
“The proposed MFPA will not affect the bilateral fisheries agreements that three of the PACPS, namely Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati and Solomon Islands already have with the EU in fact, the MFPA must deliver the benefits over and above those contained in the bilateral fisheries agreements”
“The agreement should result in direct and tangible benefits for the PACP communities with specific consideration given to the concerns of the Least Developed Countries and Small Island States,” Mr Bule said
Ministers also want the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat and the Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) to propose in consultation with regional stakeholders, especially the private sector, how a closer cooperation and integration of trade-related measures.
This includes fishing access arrangements and investment measures amongst the PACPS might improve the overall competitive advantage of the PACPS in the international tuna trade and provide opportunities for higher access fees and improve local benefits.