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Current negotiations beneficial to both: EU


Apr 12, 2014 08:16:29 PM

Current negotiations beneficial to both: EU The scope of the current negotiations is much broader than the interim Economic Participation Agreement with benefits to both parties, the European Union says.

Andrew Jacobs, Head of the European Union's Delegation for the Pacific said suggestions have been heard that the current negotiations would lead to an agreement which offers fewer benefits than the interim EPA.

“It would contain a separate development cooperation chapter and could include issues such as trade in services and investment, so as to offer further benefits to both parties including an increase in potential regional economic integration in the Pacific,” he said.

The head of EU to the says the Pacific benefits from the largest EU contribution among the ACP regions, including in relation to aid for trade: during the last five years on a per capita basis the EU's aid for trade to the Pacific region has been almost twice as much as in the Caribbean and five times higher than in Africa.

“In the next seven years this relative advantage of the Pacific is set to increase even further,” Jacobs said.

“Between 2008 and 2013 the EU provided €845.5 million or FJD 2.2 billion worth of development assistance to the Pacific.  Of this €68.5 million or FJD 173 million was dedicated specifically to supporting regional integration through trade.  This is likely to continue to be a focus for EU support in the coming years.”

He maintains no other trade agreement offers such generous terms combined with the level of asymmetry that the EPA offers.

Jacobs further says the EU is pleased that the Pacific Trade Ministers have met in Suva and hopes “that their discussions have helped the countries of the region to come together and adopt a united and unequivocal position on how they see the continuation of the Economic Partnership Agreement process.”

“There are indeed a number of contentious issues and I hope that this meeting will have provided an impetus towards a compromise that is acceptable for both the Pacific ACP states and the European Union.”

The EU head says he is looking forward to receiving formal feedback from the Pacific ACP states about the outcome of this week's meetings.

"We hope that this will be a solid basis for further progress towards reaching a compromise in the near future."

The Pacific ACP meetings ended on Friday after which the ministers dispatched a letter to the EU requesting that EPA negotiations start in two weeks’ time, at official level, in Brussels.


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