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EU External Relations

Volume 468: debated on Thursday 6 December 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what his policy is on the recent statement by the General Affairs and External Relations Council of the EU that all parties should agree to pursue trade negotiations within agreed timeframes in outstanding areas. (170634)

The UK's 2005 position paper on economic partnership agreements stated that investment, competition and Government procurement should be removed from the negotiations, unless specifically requested by an African, Caribbean or Pacific (ACP) regional negotiating group. The UK has strongly pushed for this with the Commission and among other European Union member states. At the General Affairs and External Relations Council we reached a compromise stating that the ACP should negotiate on these areas within an agreed timeframe. The conclusions do not state that the ACP is obliged to conclude negotiations on these areas.