3 Dec 2007

NGOs warns Pacific countries against EU trade deals

2:51 pm on 3 December 2007

Non-Governmental Organisations say a European Union trade/aid deal that should support Pacific economies serves EU interests only.

The EU had been pushing the nations to which it provides aid to sign Economic Pasrtnership Agreements or EPAs by the end of the year.

Amid widerspread opposition it offered an interim deal - for agreement on trade in goods only.

Fiji and Papua New Guinea are the only members of the African Caribbean Pacific states who have shown interest in this arrangement and PNG is expected to sign an interim agreement this week.

The co-ordintor of the Pacific Network on Globalisation, Roshni Sami, warns against the deal.

"We think that if this was really about Pacific development interests then the agreement would look very different. The Pacific put forward their proposals based on development priorities and almost all of them were flat-out rejected by the EU. And what we know about the interim agreement is that it is almost purely to serve EU ends."

Roshni Sami says Fiji has little choice than to sign the agreement, because the EU is threatening to end its sugar preferences, while PNG would lose out on its tuna preferences.

Oxfam is also voicing concern over the deal.