3 Aug 2007

Pacific ACP members to suspend EPA negotiations if EU threat seen through

1:08 pm on 3 August 2007

Pacific members of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group have decided to suspend negotiations with the European Union if the EU cuts funding.

Pacific trade ministers meeting in Vanuatu have rejected the EU's attempt to push through proposed trade deals known as Economic Partnership Agreements or EPAs by linking them to European Development Fund or EDF money.

A letter from the EU to the Pacific Islands Forum reportedly said 130 million US dollars of proposed aid could be restructured if EPAs aren't completed by the deadline at the end of the year.

But the Forum's deputy secretary-general, Peter Forau, says the Pacific ACP groups have expressed their concern about the pressure.

"That's in regard to the decision by the PACP ministers to suspend negotiations if the EU came back to confirm that what they communicated earlier to the ministers was correct. That's in regard to the linkage between the EDF and the EPA."

Peter Forau