by Delly Bagu – EM TV, Port Moresby
The 2nd MSG Investment Roadshow and Trade Fair kicked of today, with displays of products and services from each of the member countries.
At the official opening last night, Prime Minister Peter O’Neill urged PNG, Fiji, the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, New Caledonia and other observers to create business and encourage their business communities to trade with each other.
Mr O’Neill pointed out that although Melanesians were historically good trading partners, there is little trade between the people today. The opening ceremony of the 2nd MSG Investment Roadshow and Trade Fair last night began with a parade at the Murray Barracks.
There to observe were trade ministers from Fiji, the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu, as well as New Caledonia’s FLNKS party.
Throughout the week, the topic of free trade was high on the agenda. Prime Minister O’Neill said when a free trade arrangement is achieved among MSG countries, it is then that PNG can take the discussion to the APEC Summit for access to much larger trading markets.
“We must take advantage of that opportunity, we must engage with larger countries with larger markets so that our businessmen and women can continue to expand their businesses,” Mr O’Neill said.
Earlier in the week, the trade ministers signed the MSG Port Moresby Declaration on “securing future MSG Prosperity through trade and economic integration”.
A top point on the agreement was the MSG countries’ declaration to renew their commitment on achieving a free trade area by 2017. Minister for Trade, Commerce and Industry, Richard Maru said PNG is committed to see a shared prosperity in the region.
The Prime Minister said PNG supports the notion of having free trade areas and he urged that MSG governments must be clear about their views on the creation of a free trade agreement.