The Seminar titled Doing Business with Europe: How your business can benefit from the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), will be hosted at the Faculty of Business and Economics, Postgraduate Lecture Theatre, The University of the South Pacific, Laucala Campus, Suva.
Ahead of the seminar, the EU Ambassador to Fiji and the Pacific, H.E. Julian Wilson said: ''The European Union (EU) is the world’s largest single market and the EPA provides for free access into the EU for products from Fiji and Papua New Guinea (PNG). In the Pacific region, Papua New Guinea has already ratified this Agreement and implementation is on-going. This market access advantage in PNG has triggered five new investments that have generated 50,000 new jobs, many of them for women. Fiji has signed the EPA and, once it effectively implements and ratifies, it will be able to enjoy similar advantages. For example, duty-free and quota-free access to the EU market for processed fish, regardless of where that fish is caught.''
''In the Pacific, Fiji is one of the largest trading partners of the EU. Fiji's main exports to the EU are raw cane sugar, other agricultural products and fish. Fiji's decision to ratify the EPA will be another very significant step in strengthening our economic links. This Agreement is a true partnership for trade and development. The EPA is one of the EU's main tools to assist developing countries, such as Fiji, on their path to economic growth and diversification of their economies." added Ambassador Wilson.
The half day event targets Fijian businesses, students, media and wider public giving them a valuable occasion to learn about the EPA and the opportunities it presents as well as to exchange views with representatives from the EU and its Member States, PNG, local businesses and academia.
Background on Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between EU, Fiji and PNG
The Economic Partnership Agreements between the EU and African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries and regions aim at promoting ACP-EU trade – and ultimately contribute, through trade and investment, to sustainable development and poverty reduction. The EPA between the EU and Pacific ACP States was signed by Papua New Guinea in July 2009 and by Fiji in December 2009. The European Parliament approved the Agreement in January 2011 and Papua New Guinea ratified it in May 2011. Fiji notified about the provisional application of the Agreement in 2014 and the implementation is on-going, but it yet to ratify the EPA.
This Agreement is also open to other Pacific ACP States that wish to join. Samoa has already concluded negotiations with the European Commission on its Market Access Offer for accession to the EU-Pacific Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA). Currently, Samoa made products can enter the EU market duty-free and quota-free until the end of December 2018 when the transitional arrangement for Samoa due to graduation from Least Developing Country (LDC) status will expires. Samoa’s accession to the EPA will ensure minimal disruption to Samoa’s exports to the EU market.