23 Oct 2008

Solomon Islands MP made interim spokesman for Pacific ACP group

11:50 am on 23 October 2008

The Solomon Islands Minister of Foreign Affairs and External Trade, William Haomae, has been made the interim spokesman for the Pacific ACP group in negotiating the controversial Economic Partnership Agreements or EPAs with the European Commission.

The EPAs - free-trade agreements between the 27 countries of the European Union and the African, Caribbean and Pacific group of 79 developing countries, have been under negotiation since 2002.

Papua New Guinea and Fiji signed temporary deals at the end of 2007 to safeguard their exports to Europe, but negotiations have continued through 2008.

Mr Haomae has been asked to temporarily replace Samoa Cabinet Minister Hans Joachim Keil.

Mr Keil was detained and charged with immigration offences in the United States last month.