PRIVATE SECTOR, CIVIL SOCIETY INVITED TO ACP, SAYS FIJI

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SUVA, Fiji Islands (July 16, 2002 - PINA Nius Online)---Private sector and civil society representatives have been invited to participate in this week's 3rd African, Caribbean, Pacific (ACP) Summit at Nadi, the Fiji government said.

Following criticism by some non-government organizations that they were not allowed to hold protests during the summit for heads of state and government, the government said said: "To achieve the social and economic objectives of enhancing economic development and alleviation of poverty, the Fiji Government encourages active participation of non-state actors in the formulation of trade policies."

This pertains especially to the negotiation of a new trading arrangement with the European Union (EU), the government statement said.

It said the Cotonou Agreement -- a trade and aid development partnership between the EU and 77 nations of the ACP -- has four main sectors:

§ the political dimension,

§ the inclusion of non-state actors (such as the private sector and civil society) in the partnership,

§ the new trade arrangement, and

§ financial cooperation.

The negotiation of Economic Partnership Agreements with the EU will be formally launched in September this year in Brussels.

The negotiations must finish by December 2007 and the agreements will come into force by January 1, 2008.

Preparation for the negotiations is one of the issues to be considered by leaders during the Nadi summit.

Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) Website: http://www.pinanius.org 

 

WE'RE NOT READY FOR NEGOTIATIONS WITH EU: PAPUA NEW GUINEA’S SOTTEN

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (July 16, 2002 - Post-Courier/PINA Nius Online)---Papua New Guinea is behind schedule in preparing for negotiating a new trade agreement with the European Union (EU), Trade and Industry Secretary Jonathan Sotten said.

He was speaking at a national workshop to prepare for negotiating the Economic Partnership Agreements with the European Union.

It was held ahead of this week's African, Caribbean, Pacific (ACP) summit in Nadi, Fiji, where the Economic Partnership Agreements will be one of the main discussion points.

The negotiations will be launched in September in Brussels under the new trade and aid development partnership agreement between 77 ACP nations and the EU. This is known as the Cotonou Agreement.

The Port Moresby workshop was organized by the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat as part of efforts to help prepare Pacific Islands members of the ACP for the negotiations.

Mr. Sotten said Papua New Guineans have to forget the handout mentality and take a more "revolutionary" approach in light of globalization.

He said PNG was behind schedule in implementing some strategies and he blamed the lack of funds for delaying trade studies that were to have been carried out last month.

"We are required in this workshop to focus on deriving the possible format and the content of our economic partnership agreement (EPA) in preparations for the negotiations," Mr. Sotten said.

"Whilst this is important it is not necessarily the only focus as we must bear in mind that from the perspectives of the majority of our Forum Island Country members an EPA arrangement may be the lowest in their priorities.

"For all of us generating sufficient volumes of tradable goods with the EU is in itself a challenge."

From the workshop, participants would formulate Papua New Guinea’s negotiation positions.

"This will be derived based on the outcomes of the impact assessment and trade policy studies and identify capacity building and technical assistance needs," Mr. Sotten said.

He said these two areas would be very crucial in PNG’s preparations and there might be a need to establish a unit to continue to assist with the preparations as there are funds available to be sourced.

"My approach will be radical as I want to move into rescue the manufacturing sector, as investment into the country has gone down because of so many laws," Mr. Sotten said.

For additional reports from The Post-Courier, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/The Post-Courier (Papua New Guinea).

Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) Website: http://www.pinanius.org 

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