4 Oct 2007

EU, Pacific nations seek interim trade deal

3:05 pm on 4 October 2007

The European Union and Pacific countries have agreed to seek an interim trade deal to get economic partnership agreements, or EPA's, made by the end of the year.

Samoa, Fiji, Tonga, Vanuatu and Tuvalu have agreed with the EU to bring their commercial ties into line with World Trade Organisation rules.

Existing preferential EU trade deals between the EU and the African, Caribbean and Pacific countries must be scrapped at the end of the year after the WTO found they broke global trade rules.

In a joint declaration in Brussels the EU and the Pacific have agreed that it's necessary to conclude a WTO-compatible interim agreement as a stepping stone to a comprehensive EPA.

The agreement would include timetables for cutting tariffs on goods and rules of origin.

The agreement also looks to safeguard mechanisms for slowing sudden surges of imports plus possibly fisheries, competition and development issues.

The interim deal would enter into force on January the 1st and the two sides would seek a final agreement, including services, by the end of 2008.