EU to open trade negotiations with Pacific region
9 September 2004
BRUSSELS - The European Union will open talks this week to try to reach an economic agreement with the Pacific region, a big producer of sugar, the bloc’s executive said on Wednesday.
The region comprising 14 countries will be the last of six from the Africa, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) group to start talks with the bloc on pacts whose aim is to promote their gradual integration into the world economy.
"The launch of negotiations with the Pacific region marks another stepping stone in our common efforts to make regional integration and trade contribute to development," EU trade commissioner Pascal Lamy said in a statement before leaving for Fiji, where the negotiations will open on September 10.
The two sides will start by laying out a broad calendar for the negotiations which they plan to conclude by the end of 2007.
Economic and partnership agreements will establish clear trade rules, be compatible with World Trade Organisation standards and support trade through development cooperation.