16 Oct 2008

European Union again warned over pressure on Pacific countries in planned trade deals

7:58 pm on 16 October 2008

The Pacific Network on Globalisation has warned that some Pacific countries won't sign trade deals with the European Union if the EU insists on commitments over export taxes and infant industries.

Pacific trade officials are meeting in Nadi to discuss a way forward for Economic Partnership Agreement negotiations with the EU.

The head of the Solomon Islands delegation at recent trade talks in Brussels, Robert Sisilo, made clear to the EU that the country can't live with an agreement under which it cannot use export taxes and that also prohibits infant industry safeguards after 20 years.

PANG's Wesley Morgan says Pacific countries should follow Mr Sisilo's stand in these negotiations.

"All the evidence shows that there are multiple routes to successful development, and now is the time for Pacific leaders to be drawing a line in the sand and defending their right to use a mixture of policy tools to promote development. So we feel that the sort of strait-jacket that's being proposed by the European Union should be rejected and that Pacific ministers should stand by their decision to suspend negotiations on services and investment."

Wesley Morgan