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EU Tying Global Sourcing To Fleet Access To Pacific Tuna Resources Fiji, August 10, 12

There is now a concern amongst Pacific ACP countries of the push by the European Commission (EC) to tie greater market access to Pacific marine resources to any extension of the preferential ‘global sourcing’ rules, currently on offer to Pacific countries.

This view was highlighted at the PACP Fisheries Technical Working Group that met in Nadi, Fiji this week.

Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat deputy secretary general, Andy Fong-Toy addressing fisheries negotiators said the Commission has demanded a very high price in exchange for development.”

“The European Commission has been very aggressive in its push for access to PACP fishery resources and its position on access is simply unworkable.

“What is of greater concern is that the development dimension of the EPA has been neglected in the negotiations and the approach adopted by the European Commission.
Global sourcing was a one-off special derogation which permits Pacific ACP countries to source raw material from any vessel regardless of flag or where it was caught, provided it has been ‘substantially transformed’ by a PACP-based processing facility into canned tuna or frozen cooked loins.
It was offered in 2007 after Fiji and Papua New Guinea intialled the interim EPA. In addition to global sourcing, Pacific ACP countries are asking for an extension of the rule to include fresh and frozen fish.
The Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat commissioned a study on global sourcing to assist members in assessing the opportunities and feasibility of Pacific ACP States exporting fresh and frozen fish, under HS headings to the European market.
While the EC responded in June, Fong-Toy said it didn’t address proposals put forward from the Pacific but instead responded to the 2009 version of the draft fisheries chapter.
“The Commission has confirmed that it is not prepared to give global sourcing for products of HS headings without securing access to PACP marine resources. Furthermore, the European Commission has proposed to limit global sourcing to tuna species, instead of covering all fish”, revealed Fong-Toy.
Another revelation from the global sourcing study according to the PIFS senior executive is that the region’s traditional markets such as Japan and the US are more attractive for the PACPS.
“The EU market is likely to be an alternative market for PACP products rather than the main destination for PACPS”, said Fong-Toy.
Further analysis indicates that proposed PACP exports of fresh and frozen fish to the EU would not in any measure threaten EU industries, revealed the Forum Secretariat study.
However, in the longer term, the study noted that global sourcing could confer a number of direct and strategic development benefits to the PACPS.
Eight Pacific ACP States have submitted draft market access offers to the European Commission in 2011, with the other four close to submitting their offers.
“Many of these offers are contingent on securing global sourcing rules of origin for products of HS headings, amongst other things. While fisheries issues are a critical part of the negotiations, it should not be discussed in isolation from the broader aspects of the EPA negotiations”, said Fong-Toy.
The Pacific ACP region has been negotiating an EPA with the European Union since 2004 and Leaders have now directed that the EPA negotiations be concluded in 2012.