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Pacific Islands Forum, Trade

Pacific Trade Ministers meet in Tonga on regional issues

(Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat)

Pacific ACP Trade Ministers gather in Nuku’alofa, Tonga, over the next two days to discuss a range of regional trade related issues. Their deliberations will form the basis for onward advice to Pacific ACP Leaders at their annual meeting in the Cook Islands later this month.

“Let us not forget the very reason why we seek increased trade in our countries – it is because of the trade and development nexus,” said the Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, Tuiloma Neroni Slade, at the opening of the meeting.

“Trade assists in the development of our economies and in so doing, contributes to the reduction of poverty. Given the small size of many of our economies, we need to continuously seek markets within and beyond the region to increase trade.”

Two main trade arrangements, the Pacific Island Countries Trade Agreement (PICTA) and the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the European Union will be a core part of Ministers’ discussions.

More at the Forum Secretariat website

PACP Trade Ministers urged to consider the region in EPA negotiations

Trade Ministers of the Pacific ACP States have been urged to reach beyond their narrow national interests, and embrace their collective responsibility to each other when negotiating the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the European Commission (EC).

Speaking before opening the two- day Pacific ACP Trade Ministers’ Meeting (PACPTMM) in Nuku’alofa, Tonga today, the Prime Minister of Tonga, Lord Tu’ivakano said it has been a long and challenging process since the Pacific ACP States stated the negotiation of the EPA with EC in 2004.

“Whilst two Pacific states have signed an interim EPA, I can recall Leaders in 2011, further mandating Pacific ACP Trade Ministers, to continue to negotiate a comprehensive EPA as a single region with the European Commission. I understand that to this extent, the interim EPA will always be a stepping stone towards a comprehensive EPA.”

“The developments of the Pacific EPA has taken its rightful place in implementing the Leaders Vision through the Pacific Plan, to promote economic growth of the region, through sustainable development by strengthening regional cooperation, and economic integration in areas where the region could gain the most,” said LordTu’ivakano.

The Tongan Prime Minister told the PACP Trade Ministers that as far as he understood the Pacific ACP Leaders decisions, “we need to reach beyond our narrow national interests, and embrace our collective responsibility to each other as Pacific ACP states, and to those states most vulnerable, and least able to address the economic, social and administrative implications of regional economic integration.”

More at the Forum Secretariat website



About Samantha Magick

Journalist and editor


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