9 Oct 2007

Vanuatu no certainty for EU trade deal

7:08 pm on 9 October 2007

Vanuatu's Trade Minister says his country will not sign any free trade deal with the European Union which is not beneficial for ni-Vanuatu.

James Bule has just returned home from Brussels where Pacific members of the African, Carribean and Pacific countries agreed to seek an interim trade deal with the European Union.

The deal, which would come into force next year, is being seen as a stepping stone to a comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement or EPA by the end of 2008.

Mr Bule says officials will work on the proposed deal over the next month, after which the Vanuatu government will need to consider the terms and what needs to be adjusted to suit it.

"We haven't signed yet. We're still negotiating the interim agreement of which we are supposed to sign - if everything goes well - by 1st January 2008, which will hold us until December 2008 by which time we think the comprehensive EPA will have been completed."