Rarotonga, Cook Islands- Pacific ACP Leaders are urging the European Union to take into account the special circumstances of the Pacific ACP countries and show flexibility on the PACP-EU Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) negotiations.
At their meeting held in Rarotonga, Cook Islands 28 August, the PACP Leaders directed that the next negotiation of the PACP-EU EPA be undertaken by the Joint Technical Working Group (JTWG) on 1-5 October 2012 with the objective of resolving the remaining contentious issues.
Noting that the initial focus on development cooperation in the EPA negotiations has been superceded by a focus on technical trade issues, the Pacific ACP Leaders are seeking a re-emphasis on the original intent for a development friendly EPA.
PACP Leaders agreed that following the JTWG meeting, the PACP Trade Ministers will seek a meeting with the European Commission (EC) to successfully conclude the PACP-EU EPA negotiations. The final determination on the signing of the comprehensive EPA will be made at a special PACP Leaders Meeting.
The Leaders emphasised that progressing and finalising the EPA will require commitment and flexibility from both the EU and PACP members.
PICTA TIS Protocol
The Pacific Island Countries Trade Agreement Trade in Services (PICTA-TIS) Protocol was opened for signature on 28 August for a period of one year. Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu signed on to the PICTA TIS Protocol during the PACP Leaders’ Meeting. The Leaders of remaining FICs supported FIC engagement in PICTA TIS and indicated that their signature of the Protocol will occur once appropriate approvals are completed. The Leaders acknowledged that there is significant untapped potential benefits that can be gained through trading under PICTA, and urged all FICs yet to announce readiness to trade under PICTA to progress domestic requirements and ensure full PICTA implementation.
PACP Leaders have urged that Trade Ministers consider trade in services as an additional priority for PACER Plus negotiations, in addition to the current six priority areas of Labour Mobility, Rules of Origin, Customs Procedures, Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures, Technical Regulations, Standards and Conformity Assessment Procedures, and Development Assistance.
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