3 Sep 2007

Solomons concerned over delay in getting regional trade deal with EU

1:46 pm on 3 September 2007

The Solomon Islands foreign minister, Patteson Oti, has expressed concern over the delay to conclude the Economic Partnership Agreement, or EPA, between Pacific countries of the ACP and the European Union.

Mr Oti says the prospects for concluding an EPA, which is agreeable to Pacific ACP states, is becoming more remote because both parties have less than five months to conclude the agreement.

He has told the Solomon Island Broadcasting Corporation that this is likely to have an impact on trade between Solomon Islands and the European Union, and as well as trade between Solomon Islands and Australia and New Zealand.

Mr Oti says it had taken the EU one year to respond to a submission by Pacific ACP states on their negotiating position.

He says the EU has indicated they were not going to agree to the proposals from Pacific ACP states on the framework of the Economic Partnership Agreement.

Mr Oti says Pacific states know how difficult it is to negotiate with the EU and Solomon Islands prefers not to sign a bad agreement.