16 Oct 2007

NGOs advise caution over EU offer to ACP countries

8:57 am on 16 October 2007

Non government organisations are advising caution over the latest European offer to the African, Caribbean and Pacific group of nations as the EU strives to sign Economic Partnership Agreements by the end of the year.

The deadline for those deals is December 31st but the EU has softened this stance in recent weeks with the offer of an interim arrangement.

Oxfam New Zealand's Barry Coates says there are attractive elements in this offer but they also come laden with fish hooks.

"They each go off and have a different trade arrangement with the European Union. You find an extremely difficult situation where some imports are coming from the EU duty free and others carry high tarrifs. It gets in the way of the regional trade within the Pacific."

He says the other issue is does the Pacific agree to a deal ahead of the African and Caribbean states who are part of these negotiations as well.