Friday, 10 October 2008 9:48 AM

PACP Trade Ministers to discuss EPA with EU

Trade Ministers from the Pacific ACP countries will consider the recent developments in the negotiations of an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the European Union (EU) when they meet in Nadi, Fiji, 20 - 21 October.

The Trade Ministers' meeting will be preceded by a meeting of Pacific ACP Trade Officials also in Nadi, 16 - 17 October.

The Ministers will consider the outcomes of the PACP - EU Joint Technical Working Group Meeting that was held in Brussels last month and decide on a way forward for the negotiations.

"These negotiations are becoming critical as the extended deadline for the negotiations of the EPA with the EU will expire at the end of the year. The Technical Working Group Meeting made progress on some issues that they did not make progress during the previous round of negotiations, including agreement on tariff covering frozen tuna and loins but the Ministers need to be informed on the progress and decide on a way forward in the negotiations," says Peter Forau, Acting Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat.

The PACP Trade Ministers will consider the legal text of the EPA with the EU.

They will also consider the preparations made for the Donor Round Table Meeting on Aid -for-Trade and the Pacific Trade and Development Facility which will be held 23- 24 October.

Other issues at the PACP Trade Ministers will include consideration of a way forward on the Pacific Island Countries Trade Agreement (PICTA) issues including an update on the study on the Pacific Single Market and Economy, an update on China/Pacific Islands Investment, Trade, Tourism and Ministerial Conference held last month, an update on the Shanghai World Expo 2010 and the Joint Scoping Study on Trade, Investment and Development Cooperation Agreement between the PICs and the People's Republic of China (PRC).

They will also consider a way forward on the Chief Trade Adviser position for the negotiations of the Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations (PACER) with Australia and New Zealand.