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UK says Brexit won’t affect trade with Pacific
4:40 pm GMT+12, 11/07/2018, Samoa

The United Kingdom has made it clear that its trade relationship with the region, including Samoa will not be affected by Brexit. 
 
Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat director (Programmes and Initiatives), Shiu Raj, highlighted this during the Pacific ACP Trade Officials Meeting at the Tanoa Tusitala Hotel.
 
Raj was responding to a question raised by a member country regarding the implications of Brexit on ACP States’ interests during the first phase of discussions focusing on Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), Brexit and Transitional Arrangements.  
 
“I had a conversation with the UK High Commissioner in Fiji before coming into this meeting, a clear confirmation coming from the UK that the current access to the UK market that we have under the Economic Partnership Agreement will be honoured by the United Kingdom post-Brexit arrangement,” Raj said. 
 
Samoa’s exports to the EU constitute mainly of Noni Juice and Virgin Coconut Oil (VCO). The Noni Juice is exported to Germany with some VCO The UK’s Body Shop is the largest importer of VCO from Samoa as an ingredient of their cosmetic products. 
 
Brexit will affect Samoa if preferences and treatment of VCO exports from Samoa into the UK will change, becoming more restricted and difficult to access. On transitional arrangements, Samoa is now in the process of acceding to the Interim E.P.A., which Papua New Guinea and Fiji are a part of.  
 
The United Kingdom has made it clear that its trade relationship with the region, including Samoa will not be affected by Brexit. 
 
Raj was responding to a question raised by a member country regarding the implications of Brexit on ACP States’ interests during the first phase of discussions focusing on Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), Brexit and Transitional Arrangements.  
 
“I had a conversation with the UK High Commissioner in Fiji before coming into this meeting, a clear confirmation coming from the UK that the current access to the UK market that we have under the Economic Partnership Agreement will be honoured by the United Kingdom post-Brexit arrangement,” Raj said. 
 
Samoa’s exports to the E.U. constitute mainly of Noni Juice and Virgin Coconut Oil (VCO). The Noni Juice is exported to Germany with some VCO The UK’s Body Shop is the largest importer of VCO from Samoa as an ingredient of their cosmetic products. 
 
Brexit will affect Samoa if preferences and treatment of VCO exports from Samoa into the UK will change, becoming more restricted and difficult to access. On transitional arrangements, Samoa is now in the process of acceding to the Interim EPA, which Papua New Guinea and Fiji are a part of. 
 
Recognising that the IEPA did not address many of the development needs, the remaining PACP's, including Samoa did not sign onto this agreement and continued to pursue the Comprehensive EPA. (CEPA). However, progress towards a CEPA. has been very challenging for PACP's with negotiations halted from 2009-2011. 
 
This deadlock in negotiations is due mainly to the lack of agreement between the PACP's and the EU on fisheries conservation and management measures. 
 
At the IEPA negotiations by the EU and Fiji and PNG, Samoa and other least developed countries (LDC's) benefited from duty free quota access into the EU under the “Everything But Arms” (EBA) agreement. 
 
So Samoa’s transition to the IEPA on 31 December, 2018, follows its graduation from LDC status triggered by the expiry of EBA. preferences to the EU. 
 
EU officially accepted Samoa’s market access offer and confirmed conclusion of negations on 23rd April, 2018.  Samoa is now awaiting PNG and Fiji endorsements as other parties to the agreement. 
 
The Pacific ACP Trade officials meeting continues.

SOURCE: SAMOA OBSERVER/PACNEWS


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