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Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center

With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawai‘i

Re-Inclusion Of Fiji In ACP Group Will Help EU Negotiations
Official says united region in better position for trade talks

By Mereani Gonedua

SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, Nov. 22, 2012) – Fiji's re-inclusion into the Pacific African, Caribbean Pacific (PACP) group will unite the whole region and will help in the development of regional trade, says Permanent Secretary for industry and trade Shaheen Ali.

He said regional integration is a way to develop island nations but people need to be united and everyone needs to be included for regional integration and trade developments.

"Another benefit is that now there will be momentum as far as our negotiations with the European Union (EU) is concerned, our market access on key products such as fish, sugar and agricultural products depends on how well we negotiate the economic partnership agreement," said Ali.

"So now, with the PACP united and negotiating as a single region, we stand the best chance of achieving the best deal possible with the EU, if we were to do [these] negotiations bilaterally or trilaterally, we would not have the same amount of bargaining power if we do it as 14 Pacific ACP states as a single region," he said.

Ali said the decision is a victory not only for Fiji but for the whole region and that the Pacific way has prevailed.

He said if Fiji was to be excluded again from the PACP group then the region would be stagnant and regional integration would have suffered a lot.

The PACP includes 14 developing Pacific islands and the meeting concluded yesterday.

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