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Pacific Forum admits problems sealing a Economic Partnership Agreement

Fiji Broadcasting Corporation Ltd | Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Pacific Forum admits problems sealing a Economic Partnership Agreement

THE Pacific Forum has for the first time publicly admitted there have been problems in sealing an Economic Partnership Agreement with the European Union.

Forum Deputy Secretary General Peter Forau has addressed Pacific trade ministers of the African, Caribbean and Pacific group of states.

He says there’s a strong possibility some Pacific countries may not sign the agreement by the deadline of December the 31st.

According to Radio Australia Forau laments the "little movement" in negotiations for their economic partnership agreement with the EU especially in the key areas of rules of origin, fisheries, investment and labour mobility. Because of this, he said some island nations may not be in a position to sign the agreement with the Europeans by the deadline.

Part of the problem, Forau says is with the Europeans, accusing them of delays in responding to the Pacific’s positions.

He says when they do respond, the Europeans’ counter-proposals are becoming more pointed which are then progressively converted into conditions.

The onus therefore falls on Pacific trade ministers to ensure the region is left with an agreement that is development-oriented, and one that is best for the islands.

The meeting ends today.

 source: Radio Fiji