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Friday, 12 August 2011

Tonga Minister welcomes Pacific EPA progress

The Pacific is progressing steadily towards negotiating a comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the European Union (EU). “I am pleased to say that as your Lead Spokesperson on the Pacific ACP-EU Economic Partnership Agreement negotiations, we have made very good progress since we last met,” said Tonga’s Minister for Trade and Labour, Commerce and Industries, Honourable Lisiate ‘Akolo. […]

The meeting of PACP Joint Fisheries and Trade Ministers seeks to consider various fisheries-related issues arising out of PACP-EU EPA negotiations. Fisheries issues are one of the key contentious issues for the Pacific region in its negotiations with the EU. “These issues must be dealt with if we are to take the negotiations forward,” said Minister ‘Akolo. “The work set before Ministers will enable the Pacific to secure a meaningful comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement, one that brings substantial development benefits to our communities and which will set a firm foundation for our future economic wellbeing.”

As Lead Spokesperson on the Pacific ACP-EU Economic Partnership negotiations, Minister ‘Akolo plays a key role in communicating the region’s interests to the EU on EPA negotiations and reporting back to PACP Ministers accordingly. The European Union has been negotiating Economic Partnership Agreements with the African, Caribbean and Pacific States since September 2002. The Pacific has been working on these negotiations for over six years, and is seeking a successful conclusion of negotiations by the end of 2011.

Pacific ACP Trade Ministers convene in the aftermath of the Joint Fisheries and Trade Ministers’ Meeting to deliberate on a way forward for EPA negotiations with the EU. Pacific ACP States include all Forum Island Countries: Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.

Source: Pacific Forum Secretariat