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Pacific EPA deadline extended to mid 2012

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Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Pacific EPA deadline extended to mid 2012

The deadline for completing Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) negotiations have been extended to mid 2012. This was one of the key decisions taken by Pacific ACP Trade Officials meeting in Port Moresby last week.

A report from Maureen Penjueli on www.islandsbusiness.com said the shift in the deadline from the overly ambitious target of December 2011 was a clear recognition of the enormous task ahead of the region to complete comprehensive EPA negotiations.

Issues regarding rules of origin, development cooperation and the phasing and extent of liberalization remain contentious and unresolved, with the European Union failing to provide flexibilities on these issues despite PACPs views that an agreement without concessions in these areas fails on the fundamental goal of the EPAs.

Penjueli, who is also co-ordinator of Pacific Network on Globalisation (PANG), said PACPs have always argued that the contentious issues have unacceptable economic and political consequences for their development.

"One of the clear dangers of having an ambitious deadline is that the PACPs in their drive to progress and conclude negotiation by mid next year compromise in areas that will hamper the region's growth and development. Whilst most of the contentious issues are important to all PACPs and could have serious implication, PACPs are being advised by the PIFs to consider an "accommodating approach" in a number of areas - including export taxes, infant industry provisions.

Source: www.fijitimes.com