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Fiji Time: 3:31 PM on Wednesday 17 September

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EU trade thumbs up

Dawn Gibson
Monday, July 21, 2014

THE government on Friday confirmed with the EU that it would apply the interim Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA).

This confirms that the interim EPA is ready for implementation.

The EU, at the weekend, reported that the EPA allowed free access into the EU for all products from concerned countries.

And in the Pacific, Papua New Guinea has ratified the agreement and its implementation is continuining.

"Fiji's decision to apply the interim Economic Partnership Agreement is a very significant step in our relationship. This agreement is a true partnership for trade and development," an EU spokesperson for trade said.

"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."

As part of the interim EPA, all exports originating from Fiji and PNG are allowed duty-free quota-free market access into the EU.

"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," the EU report detailed.

"The agreement contains provisions on trade defence instruments, dispute settlement and sustainable development principles. This agreement is a negotiated and lasting framework for trade relations between the EU, Papua New Guinea and Fiji."

The agreement also remains open to other Pacific ACP states that express interest in joining. The interim EPA between the EU and Pacific ACP states was signed by Fiji in December 2009 and by PNG in July that same year, the report confirmed.