30 May 2011

Pacific keen to conclude EPAs this year

3:04 pm on 30 May 2011

Pacific ACP countries have reiterated their aim to conclude negotiations on the Economic Partnership Agreement, or EPA, with the European Union by the end of this year.

But the Pacnews agency reports the Pacific's spokesperson, Tonga's trade minister, Lisiate 'Akolo, as saying that deadline can only achieved if there's flexibility from both sides.

The deadline for negotiations was December 2007 but the Pacific failed to meet the timeline because it wasn't able to strike an acceptable free trade deal with the EU.

Instead, Fiji and Papua New Guinea signed interim EPAs with the European Union in 2009.

Mr 'Akolo says after seven years of negotiations the region is seeking to bring the discussions to a conclusion.

He says he believes the region is now prepared and ready to do this.