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Fiji Signs Newest Version Of The MSG Free Trade Agreement

Fiji Signs Newest  Version Of The MSG Free Trade  Agreement
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama, Solomon Islands Prime Minister and current MSG chair, Manasseh Sogavare (fourth from left), Attorney-General and Minister For Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum with members of the Diplomatic corps and members of the private sector during the siging of the Melanesian Spearhead Group free trade agreement yesterday. Photo: Vilimoni Vaganalau
January 21
11:00 2017

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama signed the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) Free Trade Agreement yesterday.

Fiji is now the second party to sign after the Solomon Islands.

The agreement was the third version of the MSG Trade Agreement amongst the four MSG countries, namely, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu.

The previous version of MSG Trade Agreement, Version one and Version two have been in existence for over 24 years, and have formed the basis of trade and economic relations amongst the MSG countries.

The new MSG Trade Agreement is part of the renewed vision for economic prosperity of the region.

Legally the new agreement will come into force after the two countries, Fiji and the Solomon Islands has completed their respective domestic processes for ractification which means the Private Sectors can trade under it.

Solomon Islands Prime Minister and current MSG chair, Manasseh Sogavare, witnessed the signing of the agreement by Mr Bainimarama.

“This new agreement will be the first time that Fiji is making commitments in services and investment under a regional trade agreement. That is because we believe in the citizens of each of our countries and we believe in our collective potential,” said Mr Bainimarama.

“The trust and the faith we place in our fellow MSG countries is unrivalled. In a very real sense, we are making history.

“Though we are small nations, we are seizing the opportunity to control our own collective destiny as much as we can—to advance by our own efforts, by the strength of our own will, and by the power and ingenuity of our own people. So we have a right to be extremely proud of that commitment.”

“We can never be certain of what is to come, but united behind this agreement, I can say confidently that the MSG will be ready for whatever challenges we have yet to face. Ready to bring greater prosperity into the lives of our people and ready to carry all of us into a more successful future,” he said.

Mr Sogavare thanked the Government of Fiji for the contribution and support over the past years in taking the MSG Free Trade Agreement negotiations to its final conclusion.

There were some steep challenges faced during the negotiation yet the spirit of solidarity remained well, he said.

He also thanked the European Union for their generous offer in supporting the Melanesian Spearhead Group Free Trade Agreement (MSGTA).

Edited by Caroline Ratucadra


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