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Trade ministers band together

Fiji Times

Trade ministers band together

Saturday, March 29, 2008

The Pacific ACP Trade Ministers from the region have agreed to proceed as a group with negotiations of a comprehensive economic partnership agreement with the European Commission by the end of the year.

The collective commitment for the region to proceed as a group was reached after the two-day meeting in Nadi this week.

The chairman of the Pacific ACP trade ministers meeting, Hans Joachim Keil, said that the objective of the meeting was to consider the latest developments in the economic partnership agreement negotiations.

Mr Keil, who is the lead spokesman for the regional negotiation machinery, said that the meeting was also "to give directions to the regional negotiating machinery on the way forward to concluding a comprehensive EPA negotiations with the European Commission".

Mr Keil said the trade ministers took the opportunity to be updated on the developments of the EPA negotiations in other ACP regions.

The director for the Economic Governance program, Doctor Roman Grynberg, said in the discussions on the way forward in the EPA negotiations that the meeting discussed possible options in the Pacific ACP-EU EPA negotiations.

He said the meeting also took into consideration the latest developments and where appropriate, provide directions to the regional negotiating machinery.

Dr Grynberg said there were also a lot of considerations at the meeting about several other issues including the Pacific Island Countries Trade Agreement (PICTA), services, negotiations and issues relevant to the possible deepening of trade and economic co-operation between Forum Island countries and big brothers Australia and New Zealand.