Cook Islands minister criticises EU trade commissioner

The Cook Islands foreign minister has defended his comments about one of the European Union's trade commissioners.

Tense trade negotiations between Pacific Island trade ministers and a European Union trade commissioner have been revealed after a series of letters was leaked to the media.

In his correspondence, European Union Trade Commissioner, Peter Mandelson asked the Cook Islands foreign minister, Wilkie Rasmussen to publicly correct what he calls "unnecessarily offensive" and personal comments about his negotiation style.

But Mr Rasmussen has defended his comments, and told Radio Australia's Pacific Beat programme, the commissioner took a harsh and unneccessarily domineering approach to the talks.

"We came out of there feeling like we had been totally run over by his team," Mr Rasmussen said.

"You know, there's a style, there's a protocol - I don't think he really gave us the time for that."

The European Commission has declined to comment.



Prepared by Professor Jane Kelsey, School of Law, University of Auckland, New Zealand

15 October 2006

This is a preliminary analysis of the Pacific Islands’ draft text of the Pacific Economic Partnership Agreement and the EC’s ‘non-paper’ on services and investment. Legal provisions are paraphrased and not all are covered. The paper does not include the Partnership Agreement on Trade in Goods that only some PICs will negotiate. This analysis is offered as a contribution to ongoing discussion on the EPA. Corrections and comments are welcome.

Draft EU-Pacific EPA (Aug 2007) Submitted to Pacific region August 2007.The draft is missing several sections. The document properties reveal it has been adapted from the West African text.

07.09.2004: Statement of civil society organizations from workshop on negotiations for an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between the Pacific ACP states and the European Union, 7 September 2004, Suva

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