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Pacific countries urged to weigh up EPAs

Radio New Zealand International

Pacific countries urged to weigh up EPAs

20 February 2013

Pacific nations involved in negotiations for an Economic Partnership Agreement with the European Union are being warned that while it’s important negotiations are soon concluded, it’s more important to get the right outcome.

Pacific nations that are part of the African, Caribbean and Pacific group have been in talks with the EU to reach an EPA agreement since 2002.

Only Papua New Guinea and Fiji have signed interim EPAs to access markets in the sugar and fisheries sector, but a comprehensive agreement for all other Pacific ACP countries is yet to be agreed on.

The University of Auckland’s Dr Steven Ratuva says it’s important for the Pacific island states to win as much concession as they can in terms of aid from the EU to fund the capacity to export.

“Because they don’t have much by way of resources, they don’t have much by way of economic capability. So whatever negotiation is concluded it has to make sure that it develops their capacity, rather than simply to be part of an agreement which they wont benefit from in the long run.”

Auckland University’s Dr. Steven Ratuva.