News 29 Mar 2018
The first technical dialogue amongst Fiji, Papua New Guinea (PNG) and the United Kingdom (UK) on future trade relations was held on March 20 and 21 March in Brisbane.
The Fijian delegation was led by the Permanent Secretary for Industry, Trade and Tourism, Shaheen Ali.
“The UK has begun the process of exiting the European Union (EU) and in this endeavour the UK is working with the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries to avoid any trade disruptions, during and post withdrawal”, said Mr Ali.
“UK’s engagement with Fiji and PNG is under the current Interim Economic Partnership Agreement (IEPA) between the EU and the Pacific States.
“The discussions focused on the new Fiji/PNG-UK bilateral arrangement that will replicate the existing IEPA with EU, as a means to ensure continuity of trade.
“The Parties in the next stage will look at further improvements to the existing IEPA framework, post UK’s exit from the EU,” added Mr Ali.
“The UK, Fiji and PNG are not re-negotiating terms of the IEPA but only undertaking a technical exercise to ensure that the IEPA framework can be legally applied to Pacific’s trade with the UK, to ensure that there is no disruption to the current trade.”
The Parties also discussed avenues to advance, deepen and strengthen the current trade through improving the IEPA and ensuring that it will serve the needs of the private sector and facilitate the integration of developing countries, like Fiji and PNG into the global trading system.
Source: Fiji Sun