3 Aug 2009

Papua New Guinea signs EPA with EU

7:11 pm on 3 August 2009

The European Union and Papua New Guinea have signed an interim Economic Partnership Agreement which was first initialled nearly two years ago.

The agreement focuses on trade in goods and includes provisions on rules of origin for the fisheries sector.

The agreement was signed late last week in London by EU Trade Commissioner Catherine Ashton on behalf of the European Commission, and Sam Abal, the PNG Foreign Minister.

Ms Ashton says the agreement is an important step towards a strong and lasting EU-Pacific trade and development partnership.

She says the earlier initialling of the agreement had delivered results, with new investment flowing into the fisheries industry, supporting development in PNG and creating jobs.

Fiji had also initialled the agreement back in 2007.

Under the agreement all imports from PNG and Fiji will have immediate duty free quota free access to the European market, with short transition periods for rice and sugar.

PNG will gradually remove customs duties on 88% and Fiji on 87% of their imports from the EU over the next 15 years.