NEWS

MSG On Final Stretch Towards New Trade Agreement

Negotiations  among  members  of  the  Melanesian  Spearhead  Group  (MSG)  countries  for  a   new  and  stronger  trade  agreement  known  as  MSGTA3  is  entering  its  final  stretch  this   week  in
10 Nov 2015 13:18
MSG On  Final Stretch	Towards	New Trade Agreement

Negotiations  among  members  of  the  Melanesian  Spearhead  Group  (MSG)  countries  for  a   new  and  stronger  trade  agreement  known  as  MSGTA3  is  entering  its  final  stretch  this   week  in  Noumea,  New  Caledonia  with  an  agreement  poised  for  adoption  by  trade   ministers  a  week  from  now.

The  7th  round  of  negotiations,  widely  expected  to  be  the  final  round  of  negotiations   kicked  off  on  Monday  9th  November  at  the  Tjibaou  Cultural  Centre  in  Noumea  –  with  the   Technical  Working  Group  Negotiation  Meeting  on  Goods  and  Services.

Key  participants  at  the  meetings  are  Trade,  State  Law,  Customs  and  Biosecurity  Officials   who  have  been  involved  in  previous  negotiations.

Delegates  from  Fiji,  Papua  New  Guinea,  Solomon  Islands  and  Vanuatu  will  be  working   this  week  to  confirm  the  legal  text  of  the  new  and  more  comprehensive  trade  agreement   known  as  MSGTA  3,  which  will  include  new  chapters  on  services,  investment  and  labour   mobility.

The  current  MSG  trade  agreement  is  the  only  fully  operational  trade  agreement  in  the   Pacific  that  has  achieved  free  trade  area  status  for  trade  in  goods.

MSG  Leaders  have  set  a  solid  time  frame  and  directed  their  officials  that  a  draft  legal  text   of  the  trade  agreement  must  be  completed  for  adoption  by  the  end  November  2015.

The  Director  General  of  the  MSG  Secretariat  Peter  Forau  is  confident  that  the  new  trade   agreement  will  be  adopted.

“It  has  been  a  tough  road  as  members  often  have  other  competing  priorities  to  attend  to,   both  regionally  and  at  their  national  level,  making  the  progress  on  moving  forward  with   the  timeline  agreed  to  by  the  Leaders  somewhat  challenging,  although  bulk  of  the  trade   actually  exists  between  the  parties  to  the  MSGTSA.  Otherwise,  I  think  we  now  have  a  fine   draft  legal  text  that  can  bring  the  negotiations  to  a  closure,”  says  Forau.

The  trade  meetings  will  culminate  in  the  region’s  biggest  and  most  exciting  annual  trade   event,  the  MSG  Investment  Roadshow  and  Trade  Fair  from  the  18th  –  20th  November.       The  trade  meetings  and  events  are  being  supported  and  funded  by  MSG  members  and   budgetary  support  from  the  European  Union,  through  the  Pacific  Islands  Forum,  under

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