The Attorney-General and Minister for Industry and Trade, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, will chair the 16th Meeting of the African Caribbean Pacific (ACP) Ministerial Trade Committee in Brussels this week.
The head of the delegation left for Brussels yesterday. The ACP Ministerial Trade Committee and the Joint ACP-EU Ministerial Meeting will be held from October 22 to 26. He is accompanied by the Permanent Secretary for Industry and Trade, Shaheen Ali.
Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said being invited to chair the ACP meetings was yet another major achievement for Fiji, especially after being chosen to chair the G77 group at the United Nations. “By calling upon Fiji to chair these meetings, the ACP countries have reaffirmed their confidence in Fiji,” he said.
“This further solidifies Fiji’s role as a key player in the international arena. “Like the Non Aligned Movement and the G77, the ACP is a significant voice for developing countries and plays a key role in South-South dialogue.” Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said the Brussels meetings give Fiji the opportunity to demonstrate its commitment to the ACP group and highlight the fact that it is an integral member.
Co-chair of other meets
The Minister will also be co-chairing the 11th Joint Ministerial Trade Committee talks between the ACP and the European Union. He will share the role with the European Union trade commissioner, Karel De Gucht.
Mr Ali on the other hand, has been given the task of chairing the ACP senior officials meeting. The Ministerial meeting will be attended by ministers from the 79 ACP countries. In its 37 years, the organisation – working as a bloc – has been able to secure advantageous aid, trade and investment treaties for its members with the European Union.
The European Union trade commissioner, Karel De Gucht, with whom the Attorney-General and Minister for Industry and Trade, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum will co-chair the 11th Joint Ministerial Trade Committee talks between the ACP and the European Union.
Issues for discussion
As chair of the Ministerial Trade Committee, Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said it will address important issues relating to ACP-EU trade, including implementation of the Interim and Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreements.
“These negotiations for the Pacific ACP countries come at a crucial juncture and our meetings will enable the Pacific ACP countries to formulate their strategies,” he said.
“The whole idea is to build capacity and expand our trading opportunities.”