PORT MORESBY, (POST COURIER) – Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) members have been urged to cooperate with each other on issues pertaining to trade and economic integration.
The call was made by Papua New Guinea’s Trade Commerce and Industry Minister Richard Maru at the recently concluded MSG Trade Ministers’ meeting in Port Vila, Vanuatu.
Maru was accompanied by senior government officials from the Departments of Trade, Commerce and Industry, National Planning and Monitoring, Attorney General and the Department of Prime Minister and National Executive Council.
The meeting finalised the revised MSG Trade Agreement.
Maru said PNG’s trade and investment regime was focused on improving the economy, the livelihood of its people, promoting local business development and growth, hence the MSGTA must support such growth.
He reaffirmed the PNG government’s position that the new comprehensive MSG Trade Agreement also includes reserved activities for nationals and be listed as a priority agenda for the leaders meeting.
Member countries were also reminded to make sincere commitments, by removing any non-tariff obstacles that may become barriers to promoting trade and investment, taking into account individual members development priorities.
Maru described Fiji’s bio-security measures restricting PNG’s Ox and Palm from entering the Fiji market as “not acceptable.”
This is despite the fact that Ox and Palm was being exported to other countries in the region including Australia, Tonga, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands and to Europe.
Fiji has responded saying consultations have been underway since 2014 with the National Agriculture and Quarantine Inspection Authority in PNG to address the matter.
Maru also suggested that changes to the agreement should include no tariffs on salt, mackerel and sugar for PNG by 2017.
Furthermore, on PACER-Plus he said PNG will not sign on to the PACER-Plus but will stand ready to support other MSG members who want to become members..