MORE FORUM TRADE CONSULTATIONS PLANNED FOR JULY

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SOUTH PACIFIC FORUM SECRETARIAT Suva, Fiji Islands

PRESS STATEMENT April 3, 2000

South Pacific Forum countries are to proceed with negotiations in July 2000 on a draft Free Trade Area agreement, as consultations continue on how the arrangements should be applied to Australia and New Zealand.

Fourteen of the Forum's 16 members are classified as developing, or Least Developed, island countries.

Forum trade officials met last week in Fiji to consider technical, policy and administrative aspects of the draft agreement and its negotiations.

They also considered proposals on the application of the Free Trade Area arrangements to Australia and New Zealand.

The trade officials are to consult further with their national governments in the matter and tasked the South Pacific Forum Secretariat to analyze the proposal put forward by Australia and New Zealand.

The findings will be sent to member countries before the main negotiations on the Free Trade Area agreement begin in July.

Forum Secretariat, Suva April 1, 2000

For additional information, contact: Ulafala Aiavao at UlafalaA@forumsec.org.fj 

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