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     Government of the Republic of Fiji

  Ministry of Foreign Affairs

    A Better Fiji through Excellence in Foreign Service

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Media Release

Deputy Foreign Secretary Ali Addresses Pacific ACP States Trade Meeting

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3rd July 2011, Suva: The Deputy Secretary (Economics & Trade) Ministry of Foreign Affairs & International Cooperation Mr. Shaheen Ali has called on the Pacific ACP States Technical Working Group on Legal, Institutional and Capacity Building (TWG-LICB) to successfully conclude the long on-going negotiations with the EU on the Comprehensive EPA and provide their   Region the opportunity to begin implementing and exploiting the finalised EPA in order to derive the promised economic and development benefits for its people.

The meeting of the Technical Working Group on Legal, Institutional and Capacity- Building (TWG-LICB) was held at the Westin Denarau Island Resort & Spa from 29 June – 1 July in Nadi, Fiji. Trade and Legal Officials from the following Pacific ACP States (PACPS) were present: Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Niue, Papua New Guinea (PNG), Republic of the Marshall Islands, Palau, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.

The Meeting was convened by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC). The Meeting was chaired by Mr. Ali and other Fiji delegates were Mrs Sovaia Marawa, Director (Economics & Trade), Ministry of Foreign Affairs & International Cooperation; Mr Ajendra Adarsh Pratap, Office of the Solicitor-General, Attorney General's Chamber's; and Ms Mereseini Bou, Principal Administrative Officer (Policy Analysis Unit), Prime Minister's Office..

The objective of the meeting was to consider various issues, including the contentious issues arising out of the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) negotiations between the Pacific ACP States (PACPS) and the European Union (EU) and the draft PACP-EU comprehensive EPA text, relevant to the mandate of the TWG-LICB with a view to progressing the PACP position in the EPA negotiations.

In his introductory remarks, the Deputy Secretary Ali highlighted that the TWG-LICB is important part of the regional negotiating machinery, and is the body that drives legal negotiations on behalf of the PACP States with the EU. He said that PACPS need the TWG's expertise and contribution to finalize the textual proposals of the draft comprehensive EPA, given that the PACP Trade Ministers have undertaken to conclude the comprehensive EPA negotiations with the EU by the end of 2011.

With this direction in mind, Deputy Secretary Ali urged the Meeting to highlight national concerns with the existing text, but to also propose solutions and counter solutions to resolve outstanding issues, as this would be one of the last opportunities for the TWG-LICB to meet prior to the conclusion of negotiations. He asked the Meeting to consider a range of negotiating positions and said that the main objective of the Meeting should be to develop options that give PACPS the best possible chance to successfully conclude the comprehensive EPA negotiations within the PACP Ministerial timeline.

Read the rest of Mr. Ali's speech at Speeches.

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Deputy Secretary Ali chairing the TWG-LICB

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Fiji Delegate to the TWG-LICB Mrs. Sovaia Marawa