15 Jun 2012

Commissioner says European Union committed to Pacific

7:16 am on 15 June 2012

The European Commissioner for development is denying the Commission is not engaged with the Pacific over economic partnership agreements.

The Pacific countries of the African, Caribbean and Pacific group have accused the European Commission of stalling talks on concluding the trade agreements, which must be in place by the end of 2013.

From the region, only Fiji and Papua New Guinea have signed interim EPAs.

Andris Piebalgs says the agreements need to be concluded as soon as possible, but there must be political will from the partner countries.

"It's not true that we have not been engaged, we are really very much engaged, and in the Pacific, we have applied, for example, exemptions from the rules of origin for Papua New Guinea, just to promote the re-processing of fish, even if they are not caught by PNG fishermen."

Andris Piebalgs says the European Union is committed to the Pacific region.