21 Feb 2013

Agreement with EU should extend to fresh and frozen fish - exporter

11:27 am on 21 February 2013

One of the Pacific's largest tuna exporters says the Economic Partnership Agreement currently being negotiated with the European Union needs to allow fish exporters access to European markets on a duty free basis.

Pacific nations that are part of the African Caribbean Pacific group have been in talks with the European Union to reach an EPA agreement since 2002.

Fiji has been able to secure favorable Rules of Origin for the export of cooked or processed fish under its individual interim-agreement with the EU.

The chief executive of Fiji Fish, Russell Dunham, says the agreement also needs to extend to fresh and frozen products.

"From an industry perspective we are already disadvantaged from the position where we are geographically. Our freight costs to Europe are really high compared to other nations globally, because we're on the opposite side of the earth. And freight costs in the pacific are inherently high whether you're talking sea freight or air freight, so would need to be able to access those markets on a duty free basis."

Russell Dunham says the the agreement needs to be a true partnership and not a one way street.