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6 - 17 November 2017  
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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

PACIFIC ACP EPA WORKSHOP ON THE DEVELOPMENT COOPERATION 29 APRIL, 2011; TANOA INTERNATIONAL, NADI

The Development Cooperation Chapter Workshop was held at the Tanoa International Hotel, in Nadi, Fiji, on 29 April, 2011.  Trade and Senior Officials from the following Pacific Island Countries (PICs) were present: the Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Is¬lands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu. Secretariat of the Pacific Community and the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat facilitated the meeting. The Meeting was chaired by Mr Shaheen Ali, the Deputy Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Fiji.

A revised draft of the Development Cooperation Chapter was completed by the Meeting and will be circulated for further consideration in national capitals. Officials undertook to examine a range of issues relating to the revised draft, including national responses to a list of international agreements to which the EU is a signatory, to be provided by the Forum Secretariat.

A meeting to discuss the revised draft of the Development Cooperation Chapter will take place during the week of 27 June 2011, where feedback from national capitals will be discussed and further revisions will be considered. The meeting will also discuss:

  • the revised draft MOU and draft report for the Pacific Trade and Development Facility;
  • the proposed structure for and timeframe to undertake the refreshed and renewed Pacific Aid for Trade Strategy; and
  • frameworks to engage development partners in both the Facility and the Strategy.

The Chair thanked the Meeting for the input of participants, and particularly thanked the Secretariat of the Pacific Community and the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat for logistical arrangements. The Meeting thanked the Chair for his guidance and direction throughout the day.

CHAIR’S OPENING REMARKS MR. SHAHEEN ALI, DEPUTY SECRETARY FOR ECONOMICS AND TRADE, MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS & INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION

Solomon Islands High Commissioner to Fiji
Madam Convener, Ms Patricia Sachs-Cornish, Secretariat of the Pacific Community
Director Economic Governance Program, Dr Chakriya Bowman
Senior Trade & Finance Officials from the Region and Colleagues
 

Bula Vinaka, Ni Sa Yadra.

I thank you all for the confidence reposed on me to Chair the Pacific ACP EPA Workshop on the Development Cooperation Chapter.

The main objective of the Workshop is to progress the text of the draft Development Cooperation Chapter of the PACP-EU Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA). Members would recall that the Pacific ACP (PACP) Trade Officials Meeting in Sigatoka, in August 2010, tasked the PIFS to draft a new Chapter on Development Cooperation with the singular purpose of obtaining binding commitments from the EU on additional development cooperation resources related to EPA.

It was proposed that the new draft would achieve this by separating EPA implementation needs from broad development cooperation needs through new proposed mechanisms in the text, which the EU will find more feasible to commit to.

This text was drafted by the Forum Secretariat, together with a concept paper, and circulated towards the end of 2010. The PACP Trade Ministers in their Meeting in February this year considered the draft text and agreed to a Workshop on the subject to further refine it, in line with the members’ comments. Some of the concerns that were expressed at that meeting related to the inclusion social and political issues and the danger of them being used as a prerequisite to development cooperation. Concerns were also expressed extending the scope of the Development Cooperation Chapter to include non-trade issues such as Government Procurement and Intellectual Property, which the PACPs were not ready to negotiate on, with the EU, in the trade component (main text) of the EPA.

Keeping these concerns in mind, the objective of today’s workshop is simply to come up with a text that could achieve the PACPs’ objectives of committing the EU to meaningfully address the development cooperation needs arising out of the EPA, which includes addressing implementation obligations, providing adjustment mechanisms and building trade capacity to exploit the EPA and the export markets of the EU.

It is also worth noting that Minister in February had agreed to an ambitious Roadmap towards finalizing the EPA Negotiations by the end of 2011, which commenced with the convening of this Workshop. Our successful deliberations here would be the first milestone in the fruition of our Minister’s vision.

I cannot overemphasize the importance of this Workshop as securing additional development funds for the EPA from the EU is a ‘redline’ negotiating issue for many of the PACPs or a strong compelling factor in committing the PACPs to the ACP-EU EPA that is currently being negotiated.

Colleagues, with your cooperation and guidance we hope to make significant progress on finalizing as much as possible the Development Cooperation Chapter of the Regional Comprehensive EPA, the results of which will be taken to the forthcoming Legal Institutional and Capacity Building Working Group and the PACP Trade Officials Meeting.

I would now request the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat to present the draft agenda for the meeting.