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Today’s Top Headlines

EU, Fiji To Implement Interim Pacific EPA

by Mary Swire,, Hong Kong

22 July 2014

On July 18, Fiji notified its decision to apply the interim Pacific Region Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), which provides for duty and quota free access into the European Union (EU) for all products from the countries concerned.

Three of the EU EPAs with the so-called African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) states are currently in force – with the Caribbean Group, the Pacific Region, and Eastern and Southern Africa. In the Pacific region, Papua New Guinea has already ratified the agreement and implementation is on-going, while Fiji will now start to implement the agreement as from the end of July this year.

An EU spokesperson for trade said: "Fiji's decision to apply the interim Economic Partnership Agreement is a very significant step in our relationship. The EPA is one of our main tools to assist developing countries, such as Fiji, on their path to economic growth and diversification of their economies."

The interim EPA provides for duty-free and quota-free market access into the EU for all exports originating from Fiji and Papua New Guinea. For its part, Fiji will gradually open its market to European exports over a transitional period until 2023, with the exception of some agricultural and industrial sensitive products.

In the Pacific, Fiji is the second-largest trading partner of the EU. The main EU exports are electrical machinery and equipment. Fiji's main exports to the EU are raw cane sugar, other agricultural products and fish.

The agreement is also open to other Pacific ACP States that wish to join. The Pacific ACP states are the Cook Islands, Timor Leste, Fiji, Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, the Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu. Their main exports to the EU are palm oil and sugar, while their main imports are machinery and transport equipment.

It was added that the interim EPA should be "considered as a stepping stone towards a coherent and comprehensive partnership between the EU and the Pacific region. The goal is to reach an agreement which supports sustainable development and promotes regional economic integration. The current scope of the EPA, which relates to trade in goods, could be deepened to cover trade in services, rules on investment and trade-related areas such as sustainable development, competition and trade facilitation."

TAGS: Nauru | tax | Timor-Leste | Tonga | tariffs | trade treaty | Cook Islands | Fiji | Kiribati | Marshall Islands | Niue | Samoa | Vanuatu | agreements | Guinea | Palau | Papua New Guinea | import duty | trade | European Union (EU) | Micronesia, Federated States of | Solomon Islands | Tuvalu | services | Europe

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