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Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Pacific countries urged to weigh up EPA

It is important for the Pacific island states to win as much concession as they can in the negotiations for an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the European Union, in order to fund their capacity to export, Dr Steven Ratuva, Senior Lecturer in Pacific Studies at the University of Auckland’s believes.
“Because they don’t have much by way of resources, they don’t have much by way of economic capability. So whatever negotiation is concluded it has to make sure that it develops their capacity, rather than simply to be part of an agreement which they will not benefit from in the long run”, Ratuva affirmed.
Pacific nations have been in talks with the EU to reach an EPA agreement since 2002.
Only Papua New Guinea and Fiji have signed interim EPAs in 2009 which allows them to access markets in the sugar and fisheries sector, but a comprehensive agreement for all other Pacific ACP countries is yet to be agreed on.