Council applauds PNG decision

More clarity more Melanesian trade By ELLEN STOLZ The Fiji-Papua New Guinea (PNG) Business Council is hailing a decision made last week to lift duty prices on selected items. The
15 Oct 2012 08:10

More clarity more Melanesian trade

BSP country manager and President of the Fiji-PNG Business Council, Kevin McCarthy. Photo: NAVNEET NARAYAN


The Fiji-Papua New Guinea (PNG) Business Council is hailing a decision made last week to lift duty prices on selected items.
The PNG Government last week announced the removal of duty on most of the products listed on their negative list under the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) Trade Agreement. Revised in 2005, the MSG Trade Agreement removed all existing barriers in trade within the sub-region.
President of the Fiji-Papua New Guinea Business Council, Kevin McCarthy, said his members were thrilled at the news.
“The Melanesian Spearhead Agreement was very much aimed at free trade around the region and many of these agreements had been put in place but they had not been given legal effect with gazette.
“So there was a great deal of confusion,” Mr McCarthy said.
Mr McCarthy himself has spent seven years in Papua New Guinea and has with a wealth of knowledge from his experience in working and holding posts in Melanesia. He said council members were very excited about the news.

Council members benefit
“Delighted. Our members were delighted to hear the news because they had dealt with so much uncertainty before this.
“Many of the members were getting different effects when they tried to import or export goods to and from Papua New Guinea they got different levels of duty on that and things they thought were duty free had duty put on them,” Mr McCarthy said.
He said the Papua New Guinea Government’s decision would not only have a positive effect on trade for Fiji but it played a key role in facilitating and promoting growth in the region.
“What this has done now is they have something in the agreement called a negative list which is the things that have duty on them and it was uncertain as to what was actually on that list and what the duty rates were.
“What this has done now is that is has given absolute clarity on that and the great thing is that there are only three items that are still on that list which are salt, sugar and Mackerel.
“So that means everything else that goes into Papua New Guinea is duty free,” he said.
And Mr McCarthy offered an open invitation to businesses to join the Fiji PNG Business Council and said it would be a great opportunity for Fijian businesses especially at a time such as this.

Great opportunity for Fiji
“This is a great opportunity for the exporters in Fiji to look to that market now and to bring their goods in and also a good chance for the people of Papua New Guinea to see the quality goods that Fiji has to offer and to just continue to build that trade,” he said.
“We’ve always recommended for people who are looking into starting business in Papua New Guinea to partner with someone and we can be a great source to get them in there and find contacts and people they could work with.
“There are so many areas that PNG can bring in goods and services.
“We have been trying to put a trade mission together for some time now to Papua New Guinea.
“But unfortunately it does not look like it will happen this year but more likely to happen early next year.
“We see great opportunities between the two countries and we encourage businesses to come and join the council to take advantage of that trade,” he said.

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