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Key MSG Trade Talks Meetings Underway in Nadi

Key MSG Trade Talks Meetings Underway in Nadi
MSG Secretariat director of Programmes, Peni Sikivou (left), and Programme Manager Trade and Investment John Licht at an MSG meeting at Tanoa International Hotel in Nadi. Photo: STANLEY SIMPSON
August 25
10:53 2015

The Melanesia Spearhead Group is undertaking a series of key trade meetings this week at the Tanoa International Hotel in Nadi.

The outcomes will culminate with the third MSG Trade Ministers Meeting next Monday.

Senior officials and representatives from Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu are in attendance as part of talks towards a new and more comprehensive trade agreement – MSGTA3.

The agreement will now include Trade in Services, and new chapters such as Labour Mobility, Investment, and Telecommunications.

MSG Trade and Investment Programme manager John Licht said the meetings discussions will be divided into two areas.

He said yesterday was solely for goods and today and tomorrow will be directed at the service component of the agreement.

“In any trade agreement there’s the goods sector and the services sector,” he said.

“In the goods sector, we have been discussing more on the rules of origin.

“It’s very sensitive but also very important area it is what determines a product to qualify a product for the rules of origin.”

Mr Licht said discussions have been more or less centred on rules of origin to tailor fit each Pacific island.

For the services component, he said talks will be based on inter investments between MSG countries, in terms of investing in each countries territory .

“We would like to see MSG companies taking advantage of the market,” he said.

“It will be more opportunities for consumers if we have more service providers because it will mean more competition so price will be lowered and more quality products.”

He said Thursday would be directed at investments sector while Friday will see the trade officials meeting.

Outcomes

The Trade Ministers Meeting will consider the outcomes and recommendations derived from the Trade and Economic Officials Meeting concerning the state of play on the draft MSGTA3 negotiations.

The Trade Ministers Meeting’s guidance and mandates will be required to further progress the remaining provisions in the draft legal text for completion by November.

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