In a my post of 18/01/09 titled “Philippines: seeking to conclude fisheries agreements with Palau and PNG” I was referring to the exploratory talks that the Philippine officials where conducting with the aforementioned two countries, with a view of concluding fisheries agreements.
Late July 2009 a number of press articles have echoed the signature by the Phiippines and Papua New Guinea of a “fisheries cooperation agreement”.
I could not find the exact contents of the agreement on either government’s website though the press mentioned the that the agreements will cover the following areas:
- access to Philippino vessels to PNG’s Exclusive Economic Zone, “subject to certain conditions”.
- Philipines’ assistance to PNG in aquaculture development and in providing technical assistance in the development of production enhancement and post-harvest infrastructure facilities such as fish ports and auction-type fish markets.
- a mutual arrangement and recognition of the inspection protocols and procedures for the fishing/freezer vessels flying Papua New Guinea and Philippine flags and unloading catch in both countries and/or exporting to the European Union.
I deduct that the recently concluded interim Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between the EU and PNG has played a major role in the speed whereby the bilateral fisheries arrangements have been negotiated. Thanks to the interim EPA, PNG tuna canners will be allowed to use raw material harvested by non-EU vessels and export the processed product at zero duty to the EU.
I wonder whether one of the components of the agreement, i.e. the Philippines’ compensation package provided as “in kind” assistance to PNG fishing and aquaculture industries, could be branded as “tied development aid”.
Furthermore I am very curious to see how the EU sanitary and health authorities react to the third component, i.e. mutual recognition of inspection protocols and procedures as agreed between the Philippines and PNG.
Here the link to a press article about the fisheries agreement:
Here is an official press release:
And here an EU press release about the conclusion of the interim EPA with PNG