FIJIAN stakeholders in the private sector who are interested in participating in the National Workshop on Cumulation later this month have been encouraged to contact the Ministry of Industry and Trade.
Permanent secretary Shaheen Ali said the workshop would update stakeholders on the progress made on the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA).
"The National Workshop on Cumulation will also be an opportunity to finalise Fiji's position on fisheries issues and Rules of Origin in preparation for the Fisheries Technical Working Group Meeting with the European Union which will be held from March 4-7 in Nadi," he said.
Meanwhile, Mr Ali said Rules of Origin criteria and other non-tariff barriers were key impediments to duty-free access under the economic partnership agreement. "During the technical negotiations in December last year, Fiji and the Pacific ACP countries achieved significant breakthrough in the negotiations with the EU," he said.
"The EU agreed to consider improvements in the Rules of Origin, in particular the specific rules that set the minimum local area content.
"For example, manufactured product such as a life jacket is currently required to meet at least 60 per cent threshold in terms of local area content or 60 per cent of local ex-factory cost to qualify for duty-free quota-free access into the EU market.
"Based on the evidence provided by the Fijian businesses, the EU agreed to consider lowing this threshold to suit the realities faced by Fijian businesses in meeting the rules of origin in order for their products to qualify for duty-free entry into the EU."