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Trade talks hear of European Union's ignorance

Geraldine Panapasa
Friday, April 11, 2014

THE EU has ignored the Pacific-African Caribbean Pacific (PACP) region at least 25 per cent of the time since the comprehensive economic partnership agreement (EPA) negotiations began a decade ago, says Attorney-General and Minister for Industry and Trade Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.

Speaking at the opening of the PACP trade and fisheries meeting in Suva yesterday, Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said the EU failed to provide an agreement better than the interim EPA when negotiations resumed in 2012.

"(The EU) has made more demands and pushing us to agree to what is on the table or go back to the interim EPA," he told regional representatives and dignitaries at the meet.

"In this process, they have encouraged division in our region. Fiji has always been a champion of regionalism and, among other things, this was the reason why we continued negotiating the comprehensive EPA with the rest of the region.

"We want only one EPA for the region, which will promote regional integration and not divide us."

EU ambassador to Fiji Andrew Jacobs said they would need to consult their specialists in Brussels before commenting on the issue.

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