[Fijilife] Fiji’s Trade Growing With MSG, Pacific Neighbors
Official: MSG members must work towards economic union
By Reginald Chandar
SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, May 8, 2013) – Fiji’s total trade with Pacific Island countries has increased from less than 1 percent in 2000 to 4.5 per cent in 2010.
And approximately 45 percent of this trade was now with Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) countries.
Permanent secretary for Industry & Trade and MSG Trade and Economic Officials meeting Chairman Shaheen Ali while addressing delegates at the opening of the three day meet said steady growth in trade is a result of our leaders’ bold vision of a truly integrated Pacific, beginning with a truly integrated MSG.
He said the period 2005 to 2009 saw a substantial increase of intra-MSG trade exports rise by more than 300 percent.
“It’s not these numbers alone that are important, it is what they represent,” Ali said. Ali pointed out that MSG trade and economic officials needed to work towards a “common economic union,” which is tailor-made to take into account the MSG unique characteristics.
“This will entail a creation of a ‘common market,’ with the free movement of goods, services, labor and capital,” he said.
He added that trade and economic cooperation in Fiji formed the foundation for prosperity and growth in the region.
“Fiji has just returned from a hugely successful Trade and Investment Mission to Papua New Guinea that I have no doubt will lead to many new opportunities for both nations.”
“In turn the momentum achieved from this mission, we hope, will lead to further integration between all countries of the MSG.”
Highlighting the success in trade for MSG countries, Ali stated countries were already on the right path with the implementation of the MSG Trade Agreement, MSG MOU on Skills Movement Scheme and Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama’s announcement of the removal of pre-entry visa requirements for Fijians visiting PNG amongst other things.
The meeting ends on Thursday.
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