The Fijian Minister for Industry, Trade and Tourism, Hon. Faiyaz Koya, has called for immediate discussions on the impact that the United Kingdom’s (UK) withdrawal from the European Union (EU) will have on relationships between the Africa, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP), the EU and the UK.
He made the call when speaking on behalf of Pacific ACP countries at the ACP Ministerial Trade Committee Meeting in Brussels.
“Neither the EU nor the UK have given clear positions on Brexit for the ACP group to thoroughly analyse and assess. We have only been able to speculate under the circumstances. However, it remains an imperative that ACP countries be able to conduct assessments to determine our most effective course of action in advancing our relationships with the EU and the UK,” he said.
Minister Koya added that the high dependence of some ACP countries, Fiji included, on UK and EU markets was a particular area of concern.
“Fiji is a case in point in this regard, as 45 per cent of our exports to the EU were destined for the UK market in 2015. In 2014, the UK market accounted for an even higher 76 per cent of Fiji’s exports to the EU, down from a peak of 94 per cent in 2011. So the UK market is very important to Fiji and for other Pacific Island countries,” he said. “our preference is that current trade and economic relationships are preserved as best as possible.”