Samoa & PNG to represent the Pacific in Post Cotonou negotiation

Samoa’s Ambassador to the European Union, Fatumanava Pao Luteru

Source: Press Secretariat

APIA, SAMOA – THURSDAY 19 JULY 2018: Samoa and Papua New Guinea will represent the Pacific at the Ministerial level central negotiating for the post-Cotonou agreement.

According to the CEO of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Peseta Noumea Simi, Samoa is in the technical negotiating team for pillar two on development cooperation.

Samoa has already registered its interest to host the signing of the post-Cotonou agreement.

Peseta was part of the Pacific ACP delegations that attended a series of trade meetings in Apia last week.

Samoa has used the opportunity (trade meeting) to update and share its experiences and information with Pacific neighbours on all trade agreements Samoa is party to as well as its membership in a number of trade organisations.

“It has also learnt from the challenges faced by other Pacific countries as well learn of means to address capacity constraints. A most valuable factor in Samoa’s case is its ability to engage in wide consultations on trade issues,” she explained.

The Cotonou agreement aims to reduce and eventually eradicate poverty and contribute to the gradual integration of the ACP countries into the world economy. It is based on three pillars: development cooperation, economic and trade cooperation and political dimension.

A meeting of the ACP Ministers at the EU headquarters in Brussels

A new agreement is to be effective by February 2020 and the discussions in Apia focused on one aspect of the negotiation – trade, which is one of the three pillars of the post-Cotonou Agreement.

“There is no firm decisions made at the moment, we are looking at all the options that are available for the Pacific region and of course we’ll be making an assessment in the near future on the Economic Partnership Agreement and the post-Cotonou arrangements,” said Shiu Raj, the Director (Policy – Economic Governance) of the Pacific Islands Forum.

“These negotiations will be taking place in the ACP countries and in the EU headquarters in Brussels and all those aspects of negotiations are going to be determined by the parties and of course the ACP group has already declared what their negotiating mandate is,” said Shiu Raj.

“We’re are waiting for the EU to provide the details of their negotiating mandate and we understand it will be available soon and once we view the mandates and analyse them, then we would better determine the Pacific perspective.”

Peseta said Samoa like all other members of the Africa Caribbean Pacific (ACP) Group is preparing for the negotiations process with the European Union to be launched soon.

“One of the most important factors is maintaining the solidarity of the Group. A single agreement is intended and regional specificities will be defined under the technical working groups for each of the broadly defined pillars of political cooperation, development cooperation and economic and trade cooperation.

“The European Union is one of the key partners of the Pacific region – Pacific ACP countries and its regional organisations must ensure that they are in readiness for the post Cotonou arrangements,” she added.