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Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Pacific: EPA Talks in limbo without PNG

The Comprehensive Economic Partnership with the European Union is unlikely to reach a conclusion in the near future. EU Head of Delegation to Fiji and the Pacific Ambassador Andrew Jacobs says the EU is no longer able to negotiate the EPA with Pacific countries because Papua New Guinea has withdrawn. “One of the countries, Papua New Guinea has pulled out of the negotiations on the comprehensive EPA. The European Commission has a mandate from the European Union member states and the European parliament to negotiate with the Pacific as a whole. If we don’t have all of the Pacific countries around the table, it’s impossible to conclude an agreement.” PNG has separately signed an interim EPA with the European Union and is no longer part of regional discussions. Ambassador Jacobs, while speaking on FBC TV’s 4 The Record, said the EU is keen to sign Economic Partnership Agreements on a bilateral level – with individual Pacific island countries. Ambassador Jacobs says this is a viable option since talks on a regional level are going nowhere. Fiji has signed an interim EPA as well, but remains part of negotiations on the Comprehensive Agreement.

Source: Fiji Broadcasting Corporation