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Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Talks on EU Economic ties with the Pacific underway in Vanuatu today

Issues related to the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) negotiations with the European Union (EU) will feature high on the agenda of a two-day meeting of Pacific ACP Senior Trade Officials which begins in Port Vila, Vanuatu today.

The negotiations enter a critical phase as the deadline of 31st December 2007 gets closer.

An update on the EPA negotiations to the PACP Senior Trade Officials will include the outcome of the recent PACP-EU Joint Trade Working Group Meeting in Brussels, a report of the 2nd Joint PACP Ministerial Meeting and the outcomes on the discussions on the PACP-EU proposed MOU on the Movement of Natural Persons (labor mobility).

On the other trade matters related to the EPA negotiations, the Pacific ACP Senior Trade Officials will discuss the PACP-EU Goods Demand and Offers and the Services Demand and Offers.

They will consider EPA related studies including a National Assessment of EPA Development Needs and Adjustment Costs and the study on Responding to Revenue Consequences of Trade Reforms in Forum Island Countries.

A Regional Preparatory Task Force and EPA Adjustment Facility will be discussed as well as an Issues Paper on Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations (PACER) Trigger or how a concluded EPA with the European Union will trigger PACER, the trade agreement between Forum Island Countries and Australia and New Zealand.

The PACP Senior Trade Officials will also consider the Way Forward and Lead-Up to 31st December 2007, the dateline set by the European Union for the conclusion of negotiations of any EPA with the three regions of Africa, Caribbean and Pacific.

The two-day meeting is expected to make recommendations on the individual issues to the Joint Meeting of Pacific ACP Trade Ministers, National Authorizing Officers and the Regional Authorizing Officer to be also held in Port Vila 31 July – 1 August.

Source: Pacific Magazine

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