SI govt urged to finalise investment deal

National, Normal

The National, Friday August 2nd, 2013

 By GYNNIE KERO in Honiara

PAPUA New Guinea has urged the Solomon Islands government to finalise the investment promotion and protection agreement.

Trade, Commerce and Industry Minister Richard Maru said the agreement would pave the way for both countries to protect their investments.

“We are here to engage with your government on a number of critical bilateral meetings to sort out a number of issues our private sector has raised with us on the successful implementation of our duty free market access arrangements under our Melanesian Spearhead Group trade agreement,” Maru said during a breakfast hosted by Farmset Ltd at the Heritage Park Hotel, in Honiara, yesterday.

“It is important that we develop goodwill and trust in the early stages of the implementation of the MSG trade agreement. 

“If we cannot, we will not move to phase two, which is on labour mobility which we would like to move onto because we are very short on nurses and teachers. 

“It is our plan to negotiate and sign a double tax treaty before June next year.

“PNG has learnt its lessons over the past 38 years and with our strong economic growth over the last nine years of an average of 7%, which will be strengthened by the first sale of LNG next year and the second Gulf LNG project in the pipeline, PNG will be a strong and growing market with a growing population.

“We are ready to buy from Solomon Islands provided you produce more exciting products.

“We encourage you to stop exporting raw materials and manufacture here where opportunities exist.

“I hope your government will support the private sector by giving priority to finalising and signing the investment promotion agreement and a double tax treaty with PNG and resolve issues in the implementation of the MSG trade agreement.”