The National, Tuesday June 25th, 2013
By MALUM NALU
MELANESIA Spearhead Group (MSG) leaders have welcomed the progress on the MSG trade agreement implementation with three members – Fiji, Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu – now trading duty-free starting last January.
Director general of the MSG Secretariat Peter Forau said at last week’s leaders’ summit in New Caledonia this was a “milestone achievement” for the MSG in its 25th anniversary year.
To further strengthen the implementation, MSG leaders have endorsed the revision of the MSGTA Rules of Origin (ROO) Handbook to incorporate PNG’s MSG tariff schedule as gazetted on Sept 13, 2012.
They also approved a deal on quarantine and bio-security cooperation to speed up trade in fresh produce among members.
The agreement would later be signed by the MSG agriculture ministers.
The MSG leaders also endorsed the revised draft of the MSG trade agreement, signed a memorandum of agreement on technical cooperation in coastal fishery and aquaculture development between members of the MSG.
The group had also endorsed the MSG-wide implementation of the “alternative indicators of well-being” for Melanesia project and approved the launch of the MSG investment roadshow and trade fair this coming August to promote investment and trade between MSG countries.
“The road show will be launched in Fiji this year and will be hosted by Papua New Guinea next year,” Forau said.
“The endorsement of these key instruments and initiatives by the MSG Leaders is very important, given that trade has always been a key pillar in the establishment of the MSG when our fore fathers conceived this organisation in 1988 in Port Vila, Vanuatu.
“After 25 years, the MSG is beginning to consolidate strategies to advance its trade, economic and private sector development to ensure that they contribute meaningfully to the economic and social development of the MSG member countries.”