Minumum requirements for EPA with EU set out
18th May 2007


The Joint Meeting of Pacific ACP Trade Ministers National Authorising Officers (NAOs) and the Regional Authorising Officer (RAO) in Nadi, Fiji, on 17-18 May has set out the minimum requirements for any Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the European Union (EU).

The Meeting agreed that market access under the EPA would only be beneficial if accompanied by improved Rules of Origin that recognised the smallness and isolation of the PACPS.

Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures, and Technical Barriers to Trade were also highlighted as important part of market access and a sufficient transition period be built into the EPA to enable Pacific ACP States to prepare and implement the new trade arrangements under EPA.

On the way forward in the EPA negotiations, the meeting agreed the Regional Negotiating Machinery be flexible and to allow for effective participation of all PACPS over the remaining six months before the deadline for the negotiations, which is the end of 2007.

Officials from PACPS should also intensify their substantive involvement in the EPA negotiations and directed the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat to seek additional resources over and above currently identified resources to implement other additional activities including Non-State Actors (NSAs) participation.

The Meeting requested further national consultations with all relevant stakeholders on the various issues in the negotiations in order to raise awareness.

The Meeting noted the work done so far by the Regional Negotiating Machinery in the PACP-EU EPA negotiations and expressed concern in the slowness on the part of the European Commission in responding to the various submissions from the PACP side. The delegates requested a Way Forward to be identified to fast-track the EPA process so as to meet the looming deadline to conclude the negotiations.

Delegates also noted the invaluable contribution of Non-State Actors in stepping up pressure on the EU to address PACP concerns in the negotiations.

The Meeting reaffirmed the all-ACP position on the need for adjustments assistance, including the need for assistance not to be at the expense of other development requirements.

In the areas of Goods Demand and Offers, the meeting welcomed the initial EU market access offer and requested formal clarifications from the EU to ensure it adequately addresses concerns over sugar. It also noted the work achieved to-date on first draft technical goods offers, as well as the additional work required to finalise the offers as official negotiating positions

Samoa’s Associate Minister for Commerce, Industry, Labour and Trade Negotiations Hon. Hans Joachim Keil, who has been Acting Lead Spokesperson of the Pacific ACP Regional Negotiating Team, was endorsed in the position.

In other trade issues, the Meeting also endorsed the timeframe for the negotiations and completion of the trade in services agreement as an extension to the Pacific Island Countries Trade Agreement (PICTA).


For more information, please contact Dr Roman Grynberg, the Forum’s Director Economic Governance on  email
zoom out zoom in print this page