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Saturday, June 17, 2006

EU's Pacific aid policy causes concern

The European Union's (EU) aid policy in the Pacific has been labelled a "hollow promise".

The EU wants 14 Pacific island countries to sign up to an economic partnership agreement (EPA).

The agreement would grant Pacific exporters privileged access to European markets, as part of Europe's aid commitment to the region.

But participants at the Oxfam conference say the EPA would leave the Pacific exposed to the impact of trade liberalisation.

Feiloakitau Tevi, is from the Pacific office of the World Council of Churches, says the impact of the deal has not been realised.

"We do not quite grasp the serious ramifications of the economies and lives of Pacific peoples with the implementation of this EPA," he said.

But the European Commission's ambassador to the Pacific, Roberto Ridolfi, says the EPA is simply a means to grant the Pacific access to European markets, without running foul of the World Trade Organisation.

source: ABC (


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