4 Sep 2007

Oxfam NZ urges Pacific not to sign EU deal if it's a bad agreement

1:32 pm on 4 September 2007

Oxfam New Zealand is again urging Pacific governments not to sign a trade agreement with the European Union if it doesn't benefit the region.

The deadline for signing the Economic Partnership Agreement, which would continue to allow Pacific exporters preferential access into EU markets, is the end of December.

But, the current EU proposal contains few of the pro-development policies that the Pacific has been requesting.

Oxfam's Barry Coates says there are alternatives to the EPA, including a provision for duty free access for least developed countries, among others.

"The way that they're using this deadline as a negotiating, bargaining chip is very unfair to Pacific exporters and it creates a real pressure on the negotiators which doesn't have to be there. And, the Pacific should really be in a position that they will sign a deal if there's a good deal that's on offer and they shouldn't sign it if it's not a good deal."

Barry Coates.