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It-Tnejn, 17 ta' Jannar 2011 - Strasburgu Edizzjoni riveduta

17. Ftehim Interim ta' Sħubija bejn il-KE u l-Istati tal-Paċifiku - Ftehim ta' Sħubija Interim bejn il-KE u l-Istati tal-Paċifiku (dibattitu)
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  President. − The next item is the joint debate on

– the report by David Martin, on behalf of the Committee on International Trade, on the recommendation on the draft Council decision on the conclusion of the Interim Partnership Agreement between the European Community, of the one part, and the Pacific States, of the other part (05078/2010 – C7-0036/2010 – 2008/0250(NLE)) (A7-0365/2010),

– the oral question to the Commission on Interim Partnership Agreement between the European Community, of the one part, and the Pacific States, of the other part, by Vital Moreira, David Martin, on behalf of the Committee on International Trade (O-0212/2010 - B7-0807/2010).


  David Martin, rapporteur. − Mr President, firstly I would like to say that I know that, for good reasons, Commissioner De Gucht cannot be with us this evening. I would like to thank him for taking the trouble to call me last week and explain why he is unable to be here, and I would like to thank him and his team at DG Trade for their cooperation, and in particular Martin Dihm for all his assistance.

I have tried, in my role as rapporteur, to follow on from the good work of the previous rapporteur, my former colleague Glyn Ford. I am fortunate that the adoption of Glyn’s resolution in 2009 meant that Parliament already had a clear position on the EC-Pacific Interim Economic Partnership Agreement. Parliament’s formal position then is the one that I have tried to follow in my report and question today.

I would like to thank Donatella Pribaz, who was the committee administrator responsible. This turned out to be her last report for the committee before her promotion, so I would like to wish her well in her new job and thank her for making my task here easier. Finally, in terms of acknowledgements, I would also like to welcome the presence here of the Ambassador for Papua New Guinea and to thank him and his staff for their close collaboration. The insights they provided allowed me to make specific input to the report.

Firstly, I would like to make a few general remarks on the agreement and the regional context. Secondly, I plan to discuss three specific aspects of the EPA which I believe it is important to highlight: namely Aid for Trade, the Fijian political situation and fisheries. Thirdly, I will comment on the future of EC-Pacific trading relations.

In terms of the background and regional integration, this interim – or goods only – EPA has been negotiated with two Pacific states – Papua New Guinea and Fiji. These are the two Pacific island states that have the highest levels of trade with the EU and have key exports destined for the EU market: tuna and sugar respectively.

The EPA gives Papua New Guinea and Fiji duty-free and quota-free access to the EU market in return for the gradual liberalisation of their markets over a 15-year period. Papua New Guinea has committed to liberalising 88% of EU imports on the date of application of this agreement, and Fiji will liberalise 87% over a 15-year period.

The remaining 12 Pacific states either enjoy duty-free and quota-free access through the Everything But Arms scheme or, because of their low level of trade with the EU, have very little interest in an interim EPA. Nevertheless, I believe it is important that, as we move towards a full EPA, we should pursue our objective of regional integration and continue to press for a full EPA involving all the Pacific states.

In terms of the content of the resolution, Parliament has to consent to this agreement before it can be ratified. We will vote on Wednesday – as you have indicated, Madam President – on two different reports, firstly on consent, which I am recommending that we give, and secondly on the accompanying motion for a resolution. There are other issues in the motion for a resolution but, as I have said, I want to comment particularly on three.

First, regarding Aid for Trade, funding for implementation is crucial to achieving the agreement’s objectives of economic diversification and poverty alleviation. It is important that a fair and equitable share of the EUR 2 billion set aside in the 2007 Aid for Trade Strategy is directed towards the Pacific region. It is also important to highlight that this interim EPA was conceived as a short-term measure to safeguard the Pacific’s trade preferences following the World Trade Organisation (WTO) ruling.

Bearing that in mind, it should not be seen as a sign of EU acceptance of the political regime in Fiji. I would urge the Fijian Government to make moves towards democracy. I hope that the necessary reforms can take place to allow financial support for the Fijian sugar industry to be allocated.

On fishing, the fisheries sector plays a key role in Papua New Guinea’s economy and – importantly – provides employment and income to its citizens. In the three tuna processing plants which export to the EU there are 5700 employees, the majority of whom are women. This is a country where it is sometimes difficult to find good employment for women.

I support the purpose of the flexible rules of origin in this agreement, namely to develop the processing industry, but it is essential that the industry develops in a sustainable manner. Environmental considerations are paramount and I have asked, in my report, for the Commission to monitor this aspect and to report back regularly to Parliament on compliance with the regulation on illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing.

I appreciate that there are some concerns in this House – and specifically in the Committee on Fisheries – about the potential impact of Papua New Guinea’s tuna imports on the EU industry. However, when we look at the latest figures, we can see that during the period 2003-2009, imports made up around only 2% of total preserved and prepared fish imports and around only 3% of preserved and prepared tuna imports. I do not believe that this low level of imports will threaten the domestic EU industry, especially if we take into account the limited capacity of the Pacific states’ fishing fleets and the limited on-land processing capacity.

Nevertheless, it is of course right that we should continue to monitor the situation and that, if there are any unexpected increases in fishing products coming from Papua New Guinea, the Commission should take appropriate action. As I mentioned earlier, I hope that the Pacific states can agree a comprehensive regional EPA.

In my report I have recommended the inclusion of several points of substance in future negotiations, which I hope the Commission will take into account. These include intellectual property. Too often we talk about intellectual property from one side only, but I hope that we will look at intellectual property in terms of including traditional knowledge. I also hope we will add transparency in government procurement as well as provision for issuing working visas of up to 24 months.

As we move towards a full EPA, I hope the Commission will involve all the Pacific states but, in the meantime, let us press ahead and get the interim EPA with PNG and Fiji on the books and working as a demonstration of what we can achieve in the future.




  Andris Piebalgs, Member of the Commission. − Mr President, I would like to thank the rapporteur for his report and particularly for his positive attitude on consent to the interim Economic Partnership Agreement with the Pacific states of Papua New Guinea and Fiji. I hope that this House will follow his advice.

Consent by the European Parliament – for the first time on a trade agreement under the Lisbon Treaty – has important political significance because this is a trade agreement with a long-term development focus and because of the momentum it will provide to ongoing negotiations on the comprehensive EPA with the Pacific region.

Back in 2007, the immediate purpose of the interim agreement was to secure continued access to the EU market for those countries in the Pacific region which most depend on it, given the impending expiry of the Cotonou trade regime. The Commission’s commitment to concluding negotiations on a comprehensive EPA with the Pacific region as a whole remains unchanged and we are currently engaged in negotiations with our Pacific partners.

We can go forward only if we accept the special nature of the Pacific region and tailor the EPA accordingly. We are talking about small and remote island states which differ greatly in their economic situation, development needs and relations with the EU. Some countries have ‘least developed country’ status and are therefore covered by the EU’s Everything But Arms trade regime; some have little, if any, trade with the Union. We are therefore open to entering into the trade relationships that best suit the Pacific region as a whole, and the ongoing negotiations will inform the ultimate choices.

Whatever approach we opt for, it is absolutely crucial to ensure that any agreement will indeed contribute to the development of the countries concerned. That is why there is also financial assistance to enhance trade capacity. That is why we will allow partner countries in the developing world to exclude more sensitive products from the trade agreements: something that we would not allow other countries to do. In this context, I have duly taken note of the concerns expressed about the derogation in the interim EPA from the standard rules of origin for fisheries products.

It is precisely for development reasons that we granted this derogation and we did so on the basis of our informed judgment that Papua New Guinea’s small market share makes it unlikely that its tuna exports could damage the interests of the EU industry. The European Union and Papua New Guinea have applied these rules provisionally since 2008 and, whereas export figures have fluctuated, no upward trend has been detected. Let me also reassure you that the Commission does not intend to offer similar arrangements to any other region.

The Commission will, in any event, closely monitor the implementation of the derogation and will report to Parliament on the basis of a study which will be prepared before the end of 2011.

Some of you were also present in September last year when the current elected Prime Minister addressed the INTA Committee. He expressed the readiness of his government to grant EU vessels and investors access to Papua New Guinea’s waters. We take this oral declaration very seriously and we will continue to engage with our partners till it comes to fruition.

Parliament’s consent will allow us to launch the implementation mechanisms provided for the agreement; one of these is the Trade Committee, which could be convened this spring and which provides a platform for raising all the issues relating to mutual obligations under the interim EPA. Your vote is therefore crucial to helping us move forward on this and other important issues.

With regard to Fiji, the country did sign the interim EPA but it does not apply it provisionally. This makes Papua New Guinea currently the only country provisionally applying the EU-Pacific interim EPA. Fiji continues, for the time being, to have access to the EU market under the Market Access Regulation, since the Council has not adopted trade sanctions. As you are aware, the EU decided to suspend development aid to Fiji because of the political situation in the country. Resumption of aid would presuppose progress in governance in Fiji and, in particular, a return to democratic principles of government, but at the moment there is no tangible progress in Fiji in this regard.

The EPA we have discussed today is only an interim arrangement to ensure that access to the EU market is not lost. The Commission is fully committed to continue negotiations on a comprehensive EPA with the Pacific region.


  Carmen Fraga Estévez, ponente de opinión de la Comisión de Pesca. − Señor Presidente, señor Comisario, la exención a las normas de origen parte de un gravísimo error de cálculo que ha hecho la Comisión sobre su impacto, no solo en el sector atunero comunitario, que es muy serio, sino en la propia zona del Pacífico ―a la que se pretende ayudar―, cuando los beneficiarios reales son casi exclusivamente las voraces flotas de China y el Sudeste Asiático y su industria de transformación.

La DG Comercio ha establecido esta exención basándose en que Papúa Nueva Guinea no tiene capacidad pesquera para explotar sus recursos. Sin embargo, según los datos más recientes de la Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission, hay 41 cerqueros con pabellón de Papúa Nueva Guinea operando en la zona, con un total de capturas que en el año 2009 se elevó a casi medio millón de toneladas y, de ellas, más de 75 000 (entre semitransformados y transformados) acabaron en la Unión Europea, lo que sitúa a Papúa Nueva Guinea entre los seis principales exportadores a la Unión Europea. No es cierto, por tanto, como dicen ustedes, que para desarrollar el sector pesquero de Papúa Nueva Guinea fuera necesario dar entrada libre a otras flotas.

En ningún caso la Unión Europea puede falsear sus compromisos con el desarrollo sostenible. No obstante, estamos viendo como, al amparo de esta exención y a fin de dar entrada a los inversores asiáticos, Papúa Nueva guinea ha enmendado su legislación para que no sea posible presentar denuncias por daños medioambientales y ha puesto en marcha una normativa de inversiones que permite contratar a trabajadores locales y a mano de obra barata procedente de Asia con las peores garantías laborales que quepa imaginar.

Si a ello añadimos que Papúa Nueva Guinea lidera ―en la organización regional de pesca que he citado antes― una negativa rotunda a cualquier norma internacional de gestión y control de la pesca el resultado es que, mientra que la DG Asuntos Marítimos y Pesca pone toda la carne en el asador para luchar contra la pesca ilegal, otros le abren las puertas. Yo, señor Comisario, vengo ahora mismo de la Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission y sé muy bien la posición que ha mantenido Papúa Nueva Guinea. Por eso, me mantengo en la posición de la Comisión de Pesca de pedir que se suspenda la exención en la revisión del acuerdo del que estamos hablando.


  Laima Liucija Andrikienė, on behalf of the PPE Group. – Mr President, as shadow rapporteur for the PPE Group, I would like to start by saying that we welcome the increasing role of the EU as a trading power in every region of the world, including the Pacific region.

The agreement, as it is now, is not a perfect one, not least because it is not a comprehensive EPA, but only an interim one. We hope that the Commission will be in a position to negotiate, in due time, a comprehensive EPA including a larger number of countries in the region.

Secondly, the current agreement concerns only a small part of EU trade, since the share of EU trade accounted for by the whole of the Pacific region is just 0.06%, and yet some areas have caused us concern, most notably on the issue of the derogation from the rules of origin for fishery products.

In our resolution we raise our concern that a number of countries, such as the Philippines, Thailand, China, the United States, Australia and others, will be able to take advantage of this derogation and potentially export large quantities of processed fisheries products to the EU, potentially harming the interests of the EU fish processing and canning industry.

We therefore encourage the Commission to act on Parliament’s request for it to conduct an impact assessment study and, in the event that the assessment demonstrates a destabilising effect on the EU’s fish processing and canning industry, for it to initiate the procedure leading to suspension of the exceptional arrangements in this agreement regarding rules of origin.


  George Sabin Cutaş, în numele grupului S&D. – Actualul acord interimar de parteneriat încheiat în noiembrie 2007 de Comisia Europeană şi statele Papua-Noua Guinee şi Fiji a fost aspru criticat de către societatea civilă şi de către politicienii din regiunea Pacificului. Aceştia au subliniat consecinţele negative pe care acordul le-a avut asupra nivelului de solidaritate interregională şi a dorinţei politice de integrare economică în regiune.

Aceasta din urmă a fost divizată în grupuri care au negociat în mod individual şi sub presiuni obţinerea unui acord intermediar cu Comisia Europeană. Totodată, se crede că acordarea statutului de produs originar, derogare de la plata taxelor vamale în Uniune pentru produsele piscicole de provenienţă din Papua Noua Guinee şi Fiji a condus la crearea unui centru de procesare a acestor produse, inclusiv a unor produse neoriginare, de către firme din statele vecine, cu scopul de a profita de avantajele derogării.

Acest proces ar avea efecte nefaste asupra industriei, lucrătorilor şi veniturilor locale, ţinând cont de faptul că industria piscicolă este una dintre cele mai importante generatoare de locuri de muncă în aceste ţări. De asemenea, el ar reprezenta o concurenţă neloială pentru produsele europene. Prin urmare, este posibil ca acordul să fi avut efecte contrare celor dorite.

Astfel, Comisia Europeană trebuie să se asigure că viitorul acord de parteneriat va contribui atât la dezvoltarea unei industrii piscicole locale sustenabile, creatoare de locuri de muncă, cât şi la o integrare regională mai strânsă, spre exemplu, prin negocierea viitorului acord cu regiunea Pacificului în întregimea sa.


  Isabella Lövin, on behalf of the Verts/ALE Group. – Mr President, one of the objectives of the EPAs is to promote regional integration. What we have seen so far is that this is not happening. On the contrary, in the case of the Pacific, the EU is undermining unity by offering interim agreements to some ACP countries, with special conditions attached.

The derogation from the rules of origin for fish processed in Papua New Guinea and Fiji is an example of this. I believe that this derogation is potentially hazardous and that it must be thoroughly evaluated in 2011, as already agreed.

I say this because it is important to have facts when discussing this matter. What are the effects on global fish stocks, on employment and on the environment in Papua New Guinea? What are the social conditions of the workers? All this must be fully and transparently assessed, and then the derogation may or may not be abolished on that basis, and not on the basis of complaints from the Spanish fishing industry which, itself, fishes in Papua New Guinea but never lands fish there – and, by the way, does not pay customs duty when it sells the fish as European on the European market.


  Elie Hoarau, au nom du groupe GUE/NGL. – Monsieur le Président, Monsieur le Commissaire, je pense qu'il est quelque peu abusif de dénommer les accords de partenariat économique intérimaires "accords Pacifique", puisque, sur les quinze États ACP de la zone, seuls deux d'entre eux sont signataires.

À l'évidence, ces accords prennent davantage la forme d'accords bilatéraux que de véritables accords régionaux, accords bilatéraux qui s'écartent des objectifs affichés des APE, à savoir l'intégration régionale. Comment ne pas voir là l'illustration de ce que dénoncent, dans le Pacifique comme en Afrique, les acteurs de la société civile, à savoir qu'un certain nombre de pays ACP ont été contraints de signer des accords individuels parce que la Commission n'a pas su faire des APE un véritable instrument de partenariat de développement?

Ces fortes pressions exercées par les négociateurs européens sur les États ACP ont été dénoncées par les pays ACP eux-mêmes à l'occasion de la 92e session du Conseil des ministres d'Afrique, des Caraïbes et du Pacifique, qui s'est tenue à Bruxelles du 8 au 12 novembre 2010. La réalité tragique des APE, accords négociés par la Commission européenne, est telle qu'ils sont un échec avant même leur entrée en vigueur. Un échec tel que nombre de pays ACP demandent aux États membres de l'Union européenne d'examiner la possibilité de réviser le mandat de négociation donné à la Commission européenne en juin 2002.


  Andreas Mölzer (NI). - Herr Präsident! Im Zusammenwirken mit der derzeitigen Marktsituation führt die Reform der EU-Zuckermarktordnung dazu, dass der EU-Zuckerpreis unter dem internationalen Preis liegt.

Die langjährigen Abnahmeverträge mit den Zuckerrohproduzenten in Afrika, der Karibik oder dem Pazifik werden bei dieser Preissituation wohl nur sehr schwer haltbar sein. Dass die Bauern in den AKP-Staaten ihre Ware lieber zu höheren Preisen auf dem Weltmarkt verkaufen, statt sie günstig in der EU zu vertreiben, mag bei den Schwierigkeiten rund um die neuen AKP-Abkommen eine Rolle gespielt haben. Wenn nun dieser Anreiz wegfällt und gleichzeitig eine Meistbegünstigungsklausel in Kauf genommen werden muss und zudem noch die Staatseinnahmen mit dem Wegfall der Zolleinnahmen sinken, ist es ja kein Wunder, dass die AKP-Staaten so zögerlich waren.

In diesem Zusammenhang wird sicherlich ein Augenmerk auf die Fischerei gelegt werden müssen, und zwar nicht nur, ob Papua-Neuguinea und Fidschi anderen Handelspartnern Zugang zu ihren Fischereigewässern gewährt haben. Vielleicht sollte man auch aufklären, ob die Vorwürfe stimmen, dass sich etwa die spanische Fischereiflotte aufgrund der EU-Einschränkungen und der Fangquoten in den Pazifik verlagert hat und dort unter fremder Flagge fischt.


  Francisco José Millán Mon (PPE). - Señor Presidente, yo también quiero expresar mi preocupación por el impacto de este acuerdo en el sector pesquero del atún en conserva, muy importante en España y en especial en Galicia, mi circunscripción.

Este impacto negativo obedece, como se ha dicho, a una concesión sin precedentes y mal fundamentada: la exención de las normas de origen en los productos transformados de la pesca, cuando así se solicite, por no disponer de materia prima autóctona suficiente.

Pues bien, es lo primero que ha hecho Papúa Nueva Guinea, y la exención ya se está aplicando. Papúa Nueva Guinea se convierte así en una gran plataforma de transformación y exportación de atún proveniente de los grandes competidores de la industria europea, es decir, Filipinas, Tailandia, China y los Estados Unidos. Realmente, ellos son los grandes beneficiarios del acuerdo.

Se estima que la producción de atún se elevará finalmente a cuatrocientas mil toneladas al año, dirigidas al mercado europeo, que consume actualmente un total de unas setecientas diez mil. El impacto será muy grave, ya que los precios del atún procedente de Papúa Nueva Guinea son un tercio más baratos que los europeos, por los bajos salarios y los inexistentes estándares medioambientales.

En mi tierra, en Galicia, se considera una competencia imbatible, que tendrá graves consecuencias en el empleo. Deseo que el estudio de impacto que anuncia la Comisión Europea tenga el mayor rigor posible y tenga en cuenta las consecuencias, a corto y medio plazo, de esa exención de las normas de origen.

Espero que ponga fin, cuanto antes, a la aplicación de esta exención. Es una medida excepcional y transitoria. Sin embargo, parece que en Papúa Nueva Guinea la consideran permanente. De lo contrario, no se harían esas inversiones. Espero, además, que esta exención no vuelva a recogerse en otros acuerdos, y tampoco en el acuerdo definitivo. Pero, en la actualidad, ya hay un problema con el acuerdo provisional y debe subsanarse.


  Josefa Andrés Barea (S&D). - Señor Presidente, el Acuerdo de Asociación con Papúa Nueva Guinea y Fiyi conlleva, como se está diciendo aquí, una exención a las normas de origen. Afecta, sobre todo, al atún, como ha dicho el ponente. ¿Qué queremos con este acuerdo? Queremos el desarrollo del sector pesquero y la superación de la pobreza en estos archipiélagos, esto es, la ayuda al desarrollo.

¿Pero qué efectos negativos tiene que terceros países se beneficien de este trato preferencial?

Estamos escuchando aquí las denuncias que se están produciendo. Queremos una situación equilibrada. La Comisión nos acaba de decir que hay análisis claros. Sin embargo, la opinión que aquí se expresa es que no es así. En 2008 se dijo que no existía ningún tipo de distorsión y se nos anunció un informe de impacto.

Queremos una situación equilibrada. Queremos una revisión, consulta y controles. Queremos saber si este acuerdo sirve para la ayuda al desarrollo de este archipiélago. Y también queremos saber si se cumplen las medidas sanitarias ―algo muy importante para los productos que se importan―, la gestión sostenible de la pesca, la lucha contra la pesca ilegal ―elemento fundamental― y un elemento también muy importante que nos mostraría la forma de trabajar de estos terceros países que pueden estar radicados en Papúa Nueva Guinea, como es el cumplimiento de las normas internacionales de trabajo.

Queremos dar sostenimiento a este acuerdo, queremos ayudar al cumplimiento de este acuerdo, pero también queremos que este acuerdo sirva para el desarrollo de Papúa Nueva Guinea y de Fiyi y que no perjudique a la industria española.


  Alain Cadec (PPE). - Monsieur le Président, Monsieur le Commissaire, chers collègues, je tiens à attirer votre attention sur la dérogation aux règles d'origine accordée à la Papouasie-Nouvelle-Guinée, concernant les produits de la pêche transformés, notamment les conserves de thon, qui me semble extrêmement dangereuse.

Ce pays ACP bénéficie d'un accès préférentiel au marché européen, c'est-à-dire d'une exonération totale des droits de douane sur les conserves de thon qu'il exporte sur notre marché. Je ne mets pas en doute la politique de développement que l'accord met en œuvre. En revanche, la dérogation aux règles d'origine sur les conserves de thon est totalement inacceptable.

Cette dérogation permet aux opérateurs extérieurs de s'implanter en Papouasie-Nouvelle-Guinée et elle ne profite donc que très peu à l'emploi et à la population locale. Il faut permettre l'aide au développement, mais une aide juste et efficace, qui profite aux régions concernées.

Les importations communautaires de thon sont passées de 9 200 à 16 200 tonnes de 2008 à 2009. Elles ont doublé en un an seulement. Ce phénomène ne peut que s'aggraver si cette dérogation est maintenue. De plus, ces produits ne respectent pas les mêmes normes sociales, sanitaires et de préservation de la ressource que les normes imposées aux produits européens. Il est notamment impossible de vérifier l'origine des captures.

Chers collègues, la Commission européenne n'a-t-elle pas pris le temps de lire mon rapport sur l'origine des importations des produits de la pêche et de l'aquaculture dans l'Union européenne?

En tous les cas, si c'est le cas, c'est à désespérer. Nous ne pouvons pas de la sorte sacrifier les emplois européens et la qualité des produits vendus sur le marché européen. Je ne veux pas qu'une situation destructrice pour l'industrie de la transformation européenne se mette en place durablement.


  Ulrike Rodust (S&D). - Herr Präsident, Herr Kommissar, meine lieben Kolleginnen und Kollegen! Für mich als Koordinatorin des Fischereiausschusses ist in diesem Übergangsabkommen besonders der Aspekt der Fischerei interessant. Hier gab es im Vorfeld einige Kontroversen hinsichtlich der Lockerung der Ursprungsregelung für Papua-Neuguinea. Ich unterstütze die Auffassung der Kommission, durch diese Lockerung die Wirtschaft eines der ärmsten Länder unserer Erde anzukurbeln. Das darf auch – davon bin ich fest überzeugt – uns Fischereipolitikern nicht egal sein. Ich verstehe gleichzeitig die Sorgen der europäischen Industrie, kann mir aber, ehrlich gesagt, nicht vorstellen, dass die gewährten Erleichterungen dazu führen, dass Papua-Neuguinea eine ernstzunehmende Konkurrenz für unsere Konservenindustrie wird.

Aber wir müssen wachsam sein, denn es ist natürlich niemandem geholfen, wenn wir unsere halbe Konservenindustrie in den Pazifikraum verlagern. Ich muss aber dazu sagen, dass uns in der Diskussion über dieses Abkommen sehr widersprüchliche Informationen hinsichtlich der Frage vorlagen, in welchem Umfang in Papua-Neuguinea investiert wird und welche Staaten indirekt von der Lockerung der Ursprungsregelung profitieren. Ich bitte deshalb die Kommission dringend, die Anwendung dieser Ausnahmeregelung genau zu überwachen und dem Parlament rechtzeitig über die Auswirkungen auf die Entwicklung in Papua-Neuguinea und die Auswirkungen auf die europäische Konservenindustrie Bericht zu erstatten. Wenn diese Regelung nicht die gewünschten Ergebnisse vor Ort erzielt und nicht vertretbaren Schaden für europäische Firmen bedeutet, müssen wir bei der Verhandlung des endgültigen Abkommens neu entscheiden. Halten Sie uns bitte auf dem Laufenden!


  Pablo Zalba Bidegain (PPE). - Señor Presidente, en primer lugar, me gustaría aclarar que estoy a favor de estrechar vínculos comerciales entre la Unión Europea y Papúa Nueva Guinea que favorezcan el desarrollo de esta región, pero que favorezcan un desarrollo sostenible.

Creo sinceramente que este acuerdo, tal y como lo hemos planteado actualmente, no es un buen acuerdo. Estoy absolutamente en contra de una cláusula del mismo que considero injusta: la exención a las normas de origen, porque no solo pone en peligro el desarrollo sostenible de Papúa Nueva Guinea sino que, como bien hemos escuchado aquí, pone en peligro toda una industria europea, la industria conservera. Esta concesión debería ser absolutamente excepcional, y no debería haberse aplicado en el caso de Papúa Nueva Guinea. Además, no olvidemos el serio precedente que esta medida está sentando, y sentará, en futuras negociaciones de la Unión Europea.

En mi opinión, hubiese sido necesaria una resolución mucho más clara y contundente al respecto que indicase categóricamente que, en la próxima revisión del Acuerdo de Asociación Interino, se suspenda definitivamente la exención a las normas de origen. Por tanto, quiero pedir a la Comisión que tenga en cuenta las dramáticas consecuencias que esta concesión va a tener, primero, en la industria conservera europea y, segundo, en la sostenibilidad del medio ambiente y en los recursos naturales de Papúa Nueva Guinea, y el precedente tan negativo que sienta para futuras negociaciones. Por mucho que la Comisión haya reconocido que no será un precedente, la presión estará ahí. Por tanto, pido a la Comisión que decida poner fin, cuanto antes, a la exención a las normas de origen.


  Mairead McGuinness (PPE). - Mr President, I actually came down to participate in the next debate but I have been watching this debate from my office and I am concerned, like others who have spoken in the debate here, about the idea of flexibility on rules of origin.

In the last seven days there was a programme on British television, part of a whole Channel Four series about the fishing industry, in which, I am afraid, the European Union’s fisheries policy came in for severe criticism, and we are getting lots of e-mails from concerned citizens.

This specific issue did not arise, but I would just like to stand up and support those colleagues who have expressed huge concern about a proposal that is supposed to be positive as a development tool, but in fact could be quite negative, not just from a European perspective, but also for the very countries we are trying to assist.


  Andris Piebalgs, Member of the Commission. − Mr President, this was an extremely interesting debate. There is poverty in the world. We need to deal with it. One way would be the transfer of financial resources, but it is much better to give the people the opportunity to make a decent living from the work they do. The three tuna processing facilities in Papua New Guinea which are authorised to export tuna to the EU employ around 5 700 people, most of whom are women. Jobs are at stake in Papua New Guinea, which is one of the most poverty-stricken countries.

When it proposes derogations, the Commission takes due account of the risks involved and looks to create safeguards. The Commission takes the view that it is highly unlikely that Papua New Guinea’s exports will cause any serious disruption to the EU’s fishing and canning industry given the low volume of trade between Papua New Guinea and the EU, and Papua New Guinea’s low market-share in the EU tuna market of around 3% in recent years. Provisional application dates from 2008, and we have some experience with figures. It will not cause any disruption to Europe’s fishing or canning industries. The development of trade flows will be further analysed in a study on the effect of the implementation of the special rules of origin for fishery products which will be prepared in 2011.

In addition, the Commission will monitor trade with PNG and will not hesitate to take appropriate measures if a serious disturbance of the EU market becomes evident. The Interim Agreement explicitly allows for the application of such measures in its Chapter 2 on trade defence instruments. There is no indication at this stage of any negative impact of Papua New Guinea’s exports of fishery products on the canning industry in other ACP or GSP+ countries. This aspect will also be looked at in the study I have just mentioned.

I should like to add that, independently of any special rules of origin or preferential trade agreements, countries and companies exporting fish or fishery products to the EU will always have to comply with the regulation on illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and with the EU’s health and food safety requirements. I believe that the Commission has considered the matter very carefully before bringing this measure forward.

I shall now turn to a broader issue: the EPA in general. Trade is far from simple. As I have said, the only way to eradicate poverty is to allow growth in the developing world. It is true that regional cooperation is rather difficult at the start. It is not just trade agreements that make regional development happen. That is why we have earmarked EUR 45 million for aid for trade in the Oceania region. This is three times more than was provided for under the ninth EDF. It is only by facilitating trade flows that you can expect regional trade to take place. If we look at all developing countries, basically all trade is based on monoculture – one particular export item with a high fluctuation rate. This has a highly disruptive effect in the countries concerned.

When we talk about migratory flows, security, safety and justice in the world, we cannot just say that we do not care about it. We should care about it, and our departments have carried out an extensive study. We are proposing very decent measures which are completely in line with all the European Union’s objectives.

I believe that the measure is right and that the necessary safeguards are in place in case anything goes wrong. I believe we have judged this correctly and I therefore lend my support to this agreement.


  David Martin, author. − Mr President, I will be brief. I find myself almost, indeed entirely, in agreement with the Commissioner on this subject.

Firstly, to repeat, it is important that we sign the interim EPA because, if we do not, existing trade preferences for Papua New Guinea and Fiji will disappear, under the WTO ruling. The interim EPA is precisely that: it is an interim arrangement, and I agree with all the colleagues who say that our objective in the long run should be a full, comprehensive EPA with all the Pacific countries, encouraging regional integration in the Pacific. But we have to take this step at the moment to ensure the continuation of preferences for the two largest countries in the Pacific region.

On fishing, the Commission has made it very clear that what we have here is an exception. This will be the only derogation. There are no other parts of the world to which we intend giving such a derogation. Why are we giving a derogation to Papua New Guinea? I will tell you: it is because Papua New Guinea is literally on the other side of the world, and the likelihood of EU fishing fleets exploiting that area extensively is limited, although they are free to do so. There is nothing to stop EU fishing fleets fishing in Papua New Guinea waters and landing their catch and getting their catch canned in Papua New Guinea – and, as has been said earlier, that would be very good for development, and indeed we should encourage it.

But the situation at present is that Chinese boats, Thai boats and boats of other Asian nationalities are fishing in Papua New Guinea’s waters and landing their fish back in their own country, giving no opportunity for development in Papua New Guinea.

There is a development opportunity here in terms of providing jobs, particularly for women. We often complain that we do not do enough in our development policy to encourage downstream activity. Here we are actually doing something positive for downstream activity. As the Commissioner has said, in order to qualify the fish still needs to meet all the standards under the regulation on illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing. It has to meet all our sanitary and phytosanitary conditions. That is absolutely essential. The three factories in Papua New Guinea meet these standards at the moment and are providing useful jobs. If we have a sudden increase in the number of factories, and a sudden surge in imports from Papua New Guinea, then of course we will have to revisit the situation and potentially take action.

At the moment, however, the statistics speak for themselves. This agreement has been in place since 2008. There has been no surge. There is no threat to the European tuna industry. I have met, as rapporteur, with the leaders of the Spanish tuna industry and they themselves have said to me that there is no current threat. What they are worried about is the future. They accept that at the moment there is no serious threat to the EU industry. So let us not exaggerate the situation. Let us not make a poor developing country pay for our preoccupation with our own self-interest.


  Presidente. − Comunico di aver ricevuto una proposta di risoluzione conformemente all'articolo 115, paragrafo 5, del regolamento.

La discussione è chiusa.

La votazione si svolgerà mercoledì 19 gennaio 2011.

Dichiarazioni scritte (articolo 149)


  Helmut Scholz (GUE/NGL), schriftlich. Das Interims-Partnerschaftsabkommen zwischen der Europäischen Gemeinschaft und Fidschi und Papua-Neuguinea greift in den komplizierten und komplexen Integrationsprozess in der pazifischen Region ein. Es leistet leider kaum erkennbare entwicklungspolitische Förderung für die beiden Staaten. Ich möchte daran erinnern, dass der Militärputsch in Fidschi 2006 vom Europäischen Parlament, vom Rat und auch von der Kommission einhellig verurteilt wurden. Die bis heute andauernde Diktatur wird nun mit dem Abschluss dieses Handelsabkommens quasi als Vertragspartner anerkannt. Das Bemühen unserer Partner in Australien, Neuseeland und anderen Ländern der Region um eine Rückkehr zur Demokratie in Fidschi wird durch diesen Vertrag unterwandert. Als ich in unserer Sitzung im Handelsausschuss die Unterdrückung der Demokratie durch die Militärs in Fidschi kritisierte, war die Antwort von deren Vertretern: „But we are in control!“ Was ich für blanken Zynismus hielt, scheint nun den Ansprüchen der Kommission an die Legitimität ihrer Vertragspartner zu genügen. Meine Fraktion wird gegen dieses Abkommen stimmen. Ich werde mich dafür einsetzen, das Abkommen so lange auszusetzen, bis die Demokratie in Fidschi wiederhergestellt ist.

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