Government of the Federated States of Micronesia

FSM Continues Trade Discussions with the EU and Australia/New Zealand

Palikir, Pohnpei (Department of Resources & Development): November 3, 2009 - The FSM has recently participated in two important ongoing trade discussions with two of its main trading partners.

The Joint Technical Working Group Meeting on the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between the European Union and the Pacific States members of the African Caribbean Pacific Group (PACPS) was held from September 19 - October 2, 2009, in Brussels, Belgium.

During this Meeting, the parties focused attention on Market Access Offers tabled by four PACPS (Cooks Islands, FSM, Niue and Samoa). Although the parties did not achieve any significant progress on the liberalization threshold required from PACPS, they however agreed to important issues that are of interest to the FSM, which are the EC commitment to providing financial assistance to PACPS to meet the cost of fiscal adjustment resulting from the EPA and the addition of a reference to the Micronesian Trade Committee (MTC) in the EPA legal text.

Another important decision of that Meeting is the EC's indication that it would consider the inclusion of 0304 (fresh, chilled and frozen fish) and 0305 (salted, dried, brined, smoked fish) in the global sourcing arrangements in the context of a 'balanced' agreement vis--vis the Fisheries Chapter and also provided PACPS commit to enhancing the conservation and management of fish stocks, and monitoring and surveillance of illegal, unregulated, and unreported fishing activities within the region.

The EC and PACPS agreed to convene the next meeting in the course of the first quarter of 2010 to narrow their differences, with the view to conclude a comprehensive EPA as soon as possible.

The other trade discussion held was the Special Forum Trade Ministers and Trade Officials Meetings in Brisbane, Australia on October 21-24, 2009, on the Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations- Plus (PACER-Plus) between Forum Island Countries (FICs) and Australia and New Zealand. During these meetings, Dr. Chris Noonan was appointed Chief Trade Advisor to assist and advise the FICs in PACER-Plus Negotiations.

The Parties also adopted a preliminary framework and agreed that national studies and consultations of all relevant stakeholders should happen before commencement of proper negotiations.

Forum Trade Ministers finally agreed that the next meeting will take place in the first quarter of 2010 in the FSM or Palau.

Representing the FSM at these Meetings was Secretary of the Department of Resources and Development, Hon. Peter M. Christian, Mr. Ernest Weirlangt, Assistant Secretary for the Division of Trade and Investment, James Movick, Advisor, and Jean Bertrand Azapmo, Trade Policy Analyst.

For more information, please contact the FSM Department of Resources and Development (Division of Trade and Investment) at telephone number (691) 320-5133.

For further information on this release, please contact:

FSM Office of the President
Public Information: Press, Radio, Video
P.O Box 34
Palikir Station, Pohnpei, FM 96941
Tel.: (691) 320-2548/2092
Fax.: (691) 320-4356