PAPUA New Guinea has ratified the interim economic partnership agreement (IEPA) with the European Union (EU) giving effect to the full application of the partnership agreement which has been on a provisional basis, The National reports.
Minister for Foreign Affairs, Trade and Immigration Don Polye’s intervention for the parliament to waive the normal 10-day requirement for ratification process was granted last Tuesday.
Polye thanked the members of parliament for the foresight and cooperation to enable the legislative process to be secured which he said would ultimately benefit the people.
Polye said the government had achieved another historic milestone in its diplomatic relations to generate maximum impact and benefit for the people in the conduct of its relations with the EU.
“I am very satisfied that the MPs have given me the required support to meet our legislative requirements to effect this contractual obligation on our part as the European parliament had met its legal obligations in January.
“I had, therefore, sought parliament waiver of the normal 10-day requirement for ratification process for the interim EPA, between the Pacific Islands and the European Union ratified without delay. I am happy that parliament has granted its approval,” Polye said.
He said PNG signed the interim EPA in 2007 to continue to protect the preferential access for our substantial export interests of fisheries and other marine products, palm oil, cocoa, coffee and rubber to the EU markets.
He stressed that PNG-EU relations over the years had been governed by a series of conventions between the Africa, Caribbean and the Pacific (ACP) states and the European Union.
The current convention is known as the Cotonou convention.
“These conventions over the years have provided for generous benefits including provisions on development cooperation and trade.
“The trade provisions in the various conventions were particularly favourable to the ACP including PNG because of the preferential duty free market access ACP products enjoyed in the European market. In that connection, it should be noted that the balance of trade has always been in PNG’s favour.
“For instance, last year, it was 448 million euro in PNG’s favour at the exchange rate of 0.2910 to K1.”