15 Nov 2006

Pacific ministers endorse draft fisheries partnership agreement with EU

8:10 am on 15 November 2006

Pacific Island Countries have drafted and endorsed a Multilateral Fisheries Partnership Agreement to negotiate with the European Union as part of the region's Economic Partnership Agreement.

A joint meeting of Pacific ACP Trade and Fisheries Ministers endorsed the draft agreement in Vanuatu.

The chairman of the Joint Meeting and Vanuatu's Minister of Trade Tourism Commerce and Industries, James Bule, said the draft agreement is clear on what the Pacific ACP countries want in return for giving the EU access to fisheries resources.

He says the region is serious about progressing its negotiation of an Economic Partnership Agreement with the EU before the closing deadline at the end of 2007.

He said the proposed agreement won't affect bilateral fishing agreements.

The Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Niue, Papua New Guinea, Republic of Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu are attending the meeting which ends on Friday.