29 Nov 2007

Vanuatu stands by its decision to not sign trade deal with EU

9:23 am on 29 November 2007

Vanuatu is standing firm in its decision to not yet sign an interim trade deal with the European Union.

PNG and Fiji are the only members of the Pacific ACP, or African Caribbean Pacific, states to have submitted a goods offer to the EU and PNG is scheduled to sign an interim agreement next week.

The agreement, which sets the foundation for the proposed economic partnership agreement, would give a member country of the Pacific ACP continued preferential access to the EU market.

Vanuatu's Trade Minister, James Bule, says his country will not sign any agreement with the EU until issues such as market access, elimination of export tax and customs co-operation are further discussed.

"We will continue to be in a bloc as a forum country. We will continue to negotiate but we will not sign at this stage an interim agreement. So that is why we have agreed that in order to keep the flow of market, market access and so on, they are not going to sign."