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Papua New Guinea strengthens economic partnership with EU

THE Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the European Union (EU) of which PNG is a party is being strengthened and deepened to include other products like cocoa and coconut. This is according to PNG’s ambassador to the EU Joshua Kalinoe.

Mr Kalinoe said the next round of consultation between the parties to the agreement is due this year and also includes Fiji. He said several other Pacific Island states have expressed their intention to join the agreement and may attend these consultations as observers before being admitted. “Papua New Guinea would welcome their accession as the current tripartite EPA has provision for third party accession and is intended for full integration into the Pacific region.

 “The EU and other Pacific Islands states have been negotiating a regional EPA for the past 10 years. Due to differences on fisheries issues, the negotiation has been suspended for the next three years,” he said. He added that Papua New Guinea withdrew from these prolonged negotiations last year and instead opted to continue to concentrate its efforts in the implementation and deepening of its current EPA with the EU which the ambassador said is working well. On the issue of Brexit, Mr Kalinoe said he is not aware of any negative impact of Britain’s exit on PNG’s EPA with the EU. “Britain and the EU are yet to agree on the terms of Brexit. Until then, exporters from PNG of the products listed in the EPA to the market in Great Britain, including fishery products, would continue to export to that market. “According to the Embassy’s records, most of Papua New Guinea’s canned tuna is exported to Germany and the Netherlands and are distributed from there to the rest of the EU market,” he said.
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