1 May 2007

ACP countries to take common position in EU negotiations

7:35 pm on 1 May 2007

The African, Caribbean and Pacific, or ACP countries, are to take a common position in negotiations with the European Union over financial assistance packages for their sugar industries.

Ministers from the ACP countries are currently meeting in Fiji to discuss the issue as the EU moves to end its preferential pricing for sugar by 2009.

The higher prices the EU has been willing to pay for ACP sugar are being reduced from this year and in their place, the EU is to provide financial assistance.

The ACP spokesperson, Dr Arvin Boolell, says they want guarantees for prices and quotas in the transition price.

"The first thing is that we want our friends to honour their obligations, two, we say yes to reform but at a pace which is politically acceptable and we need the funding that is required to accelerate the pace during the transitory period."

Dr Boolell, who's also the Mauritian minister for agriculture, says they will formally approach the EU over their concerns.