26th October 2018
Brussels: Trade Ministers and Senior Officials from twelve Pacific ACP States (PACPS) are in Brussels this week to attend the African, Caribbean and the Pacific (ACP) Ministerial Trade Committee meeting and the ACP-European Union(EU) Joint meeting with the EU counterparts.
A number of important trade related issues are on the agenda. Discussions will focus on the trade and investment cooperation aspects of the post-Cotonou negotiations. The ACP regions will also take stock of the progress in their engagements on the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) with the EU.
The uncertainty surrounding the Brexit process is a concern to the ACP group given that a significant amount of their trade under the EPA is with the United Kingdom. Earlier today, the Chair of the ACP Ministerial Trade Committee, the Honourable Lautafi Fio Selafi Joseph Purcel, Samoa’s Minister responsible for commerce and trade, facilitated a discussion on this matter among the ACP Trade Ministers and the Rt Honourable George Hollingberry, Minister of State for Trade Policy of the United Kingdom and the Rt Honourable Patricia Scotland, the Commonwealth Secretary General.
Specific trade issues will be discussed amongst the ACP Trade Ministers later this week relating to commodities trade and fisheries, including the non-tariff measures that is impacting trade negatively. Ministers will also deliberate on the increasing need for targeted trade-related capacity building to support intra-ACP trade growth.
A joint meeting of the ACP and EU Trade Ministers will be held on 26 October to consider ways in which the key impediments to trade can be addressed.
The ACP and the EU will discuss WTO related issues that requires urgent attention as the Members prepare for the next WTO Ministerial Conference (MC12).
Earlier in the week, the ACP Senior Trade Officials met to discuss these trade issues, and make recommendations for the ACP Ministers’ consideration. The Officials meeting was chaired by H.E. Joshua Kalinoe and H.E. Fatamanava Luteru, Papua New Guinea and Samoa Ambassadors respectively, based in Brussels.
Some Pacific delegations are also holding bilateral meetings in the margins, with the EU, regarding their accession and implementation of the EPA.
Trade Ministers from Kiribati, Papua New Guinea, Republic of Marshall Islands, Samoa and Solomon Islands are representing the Pacific at these meetings.
The Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat is represented in these meetings by the Trade Adviser, Ms Veniana Qalo; Ambassador Merewalesi Falemaka, Pacific Representative to the WTO; and Mr Shiu Raj, Pacific Islands Representative to the ACP and the EU. These trade meeting are organized by the ACP Secretariat.