MSG TRADE MINISTERS ADOPT PORT MORESBY DECLARATION TO SECURE MSG TRADE AND ECONOMIC PROSPERITY IN MELANESIA
The Trade Ministers of the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) adopted the Port Moresby Declaration during their second Ministerial Meeting that was chaired by Hon. Richard Maru, Minister for Trade, Commerce & Industry of Papua New Guinea (PNG), in Port Moresby on 26 November 2014. The Declaration, which has “Securing MSG Prosperity through Trade and Economic Integration” as its theme, is intended to enhance the deepening of trade relations and economic integration amongst MSG Members.
The Director General of the MSG Secretariat, Mr Peter Forau, described the signing of the Port Moresby Declaration at the conclusion of the Trade Ministerial Meeting as the culmination of what truly was “an eventful, interactive and monumental fortnight of trade and investment-related activities.” Mr Forau acknowledged the support of the Government of PNG and of the European Union (EU) through the Pacific Integrated Trade Assistance Program, towards the organisation of the entire programme.
The Port Moresby Declaration stipulates the achievement of a Free Trade Area, Double Taxation Treaties and an Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement for the MSG by 2017. These initiatives are to be preceded by the conclusion of MSGTA3 negotiations on Goods and Services, the MSG PSD Strategy and Shipping Study, together with the availability of the MSG Travel Card by the end of 2015. Under the MSGTA3, mechanisms for implementing the Skills Movement Scheme and also for strengthening Customs and Biosecurity co-operation are to be enhanced. The pursuit of investment opportunities and business-to-business linkages through the MSG Investment Roadshow and Trade Fair, as well as through the MSG Roadmap on Inshore Fisheries Management and Sustainable Development is to be pursued. Furthermore, the work of the MSG Finance Ministers, Central Bank Governors and Chief Executive Officers of Pension and Provident Funds on the establishment of firstly, a Development and Investment Fund and secondly, an Emergency Stabilization Fund will also be supported.
Cognizant of the crucial role of the private sector in economic development, a capacity building workshop on enhancing exporter participation in Trade Exhibitions was also conducted, in collaboration with the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat through its Pacific Trade & Invest Office based in Beijing. Participants from all the MSG countries comprised representatives of both large and small companies, current and prospective exporters, women and youth entrepreneurs, as well as those from the informal sector.
An additional private sector-oriented activity entailed a two-day MSG Trade Fair that provided the platform for MSG companies to engage in business-to-business consultations and to market and promote the sale of their products and services to companies and consumers in PNG as well as in other MSG Member countries. The exhibitors were reported to have succeeded in securing sales and new orders, not only through their respective booths at the Trade Fair but also from their visitations for one-on-one consultations on the premises of major importers and distributors in Port Moresby.
Mr Forau was impressed with the outcomes of these events. “I wish to express my most sincere gratitude to the general public and private sector representatives who visited the booths, spent their money, placed their orders and also learnt more about the objectives and functions of the MSG,” Mr Forau said.
As part of its role in stimulating intra-regional trade and investment flows, the MSG Secretariat will continue to facilitate linkages between businesses and provide Member Governments with relevant policy advisory support. “Our work programme for 2015 will feature activities tailored to meet these goals and in particular, to adhere to the road map that the Trade Ministers have set for our region under the Port Moresby Declaration,” Mr Forau added.
Authorized by the Director General
Republic of Vanuatu