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Wednesday, 23 March 2011

EU Trade Commissioner tours Oceania

Last Thursday European Trade Commissioner Karel de Gucht ended the Australian leg of his Oceania tour, which he began on 13 March, covering Malaysia, Australia, New Zeeland and Papua New Guinea. […] During a short stopover in Papua New Guinea, which is a member of the Pacific Islands Forum and the ACP group of countries, Mr de Gucht is scheduled to meet government representatives to discuss the recent decision to adopt an interim version of the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPA). EPAs now serve to regulate trade between ACP countries and the EU, and replace the Lomé Convention and the Cotonou Agreement, which promoted the subsidized purchasing of commodities from countries in the south. However, the practice of subsidizing trade violates new rules by the WTO. […] The key resources in countries such as Papua New Guinea and Fiji are linked to the mining sector (oil, gold, copper, bauxite and underwater nodules) as well as the fishing sector (especially tuna fishing) in their territorial waters. Only recently has tuna from Fiji been allowed access to European markets after a two-year hiatus due to non-compliance with European rules. The EU has just launched the second phase of its DevFish programme in Oceania with 8.2 million euros of funding from the European Development Funds over the next five years. The programme aims to improve management of tuna stocks, as well as promoting the fight against illegal and unreported fishing, which is on the rise in the region, especially by ships from Asia.

Source: tahiti-infos.com