Fiji Times, Suva
ACP want additional resources from EU
21 June 2006
Pacific Island countries want the European Union to allocate additional resources to cover the costs of the regions adjustments when the Economic Partnership Agreement comes into effect.
The EPA is a series of free trade agreements still being negotiated to replace the Cotonou system of preferential access to the European market for ACP countries.
Foreign Affairs Minister Kaliopate Tavola said African, Caribbean and Pacific states expect additional resources to cover the costs that would come about when the EPA is finalised by the end of 2007. There was also a consensus on the need for a binding agreement in this regard so that the region is not caught off guard in future when the existing trade agreements expire.
The adjustment cost for the region has been estimated at 645 million euros.
A number of studies have been made to try to estimate the adjustment costs to the various regions, said Mr Tavola.
What we asked EU is give us additional resources and also bind it so that there is no change in the future.
He was speaking at a press conference at the Pacific ACP Trade Ministers meeting at the Tanoa International Hotel in Nadi yesterday.
He said the Cotonou agreement would expire in 2020 but the EPA would continue and the costs of the necessary re-structuring would be borne by the Pacific Island States well beyond 2020.
There is no indication that there will be resources available beyond 2020.
This was the reason for the demand for the EU to provide additional resources to what they normally receive under the European Developmental Fund.