14 Sep 2004

Free trade agreement between Pacific ACP members and EU on track for 2007

6:35 am on 14 September 2004

Pacific members of the African, Caribbean and Pacific trade grouping and the European Union are still on target to reach a free trade agreement by 2007.

The European Union says its given countries two years to finalise their economic strategies for a Free Trade Partnership agreement, following a weekend meeting in Fiji.

The EU's Pacific Commissioner, Frans Baan, says it gives Pacific countries enough time to finalise economic strategies, and also complies with obligations under the Cotonou agreement that defines the EU's relationship with the ACP group.

"The real challenge ahead is the construction of a Pacific market place. Much more than negotiations over trade agreements with the EU or any other trading partner. It is really working amongst ACP countries to see how the Pacific can become increasingly a player in this globalised world of commercial relations."