By Delly Waigeno – EM TV News, Port Moresby
The Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) Trade Ministers Meeting began today in Nadi, Fiji, with the emphasis on the increase of trade in region of particular focus.
Fiji’s Minister for Trade, Faiyaz Koya, opened the meeting saying that over the last few years, MSG has transformed itself into a vehicle of progress for the economic wellbeing of its people.
Participants at the meeting heard today that the MSG has become a catalyst for trade and economic integration in the Pacific.
Koya said the MSG has also managed to implement a legal framework allowing member countries to take inter-MSG trade to new levels, thanks to the unique progressive nature of the trade agreement.
“Trade between the MSG countries is increasing each year at record levels. As we come to the conclusion of the negotiations on MSG trade agreement three, we need to ensure that we do not back-track on the progress that we have made thus far under the existing trade agreement,” Koya said.
He also added trade flows between MSG countries have been flourishing in recent years. Over a five year period from 2010 to 2014, the total trade value between MSG countries grew from K22 million to K219 million, representing an increase of 114 per cent.
“Our collaboration on the trade front has also been boosted with investment flows from within the MSG Region. For example, PNG has invested in the financial and tourism sectors in Fiji. While Fiji continues to invest in the retail and manufacturing sectors in PNG and other MSG countries.”
He said that by creating economic links between MSG countries, we are laying the foundation for a new era of trade, economic development and corporation in MSG.
PNG’s Minister for Trade, Commerce & Industry, Richard Maru, was not at the meeting.