NATION

Another Milestone In Melanesian Trade

The following is Permanent Secretary for Industry, Trade and Tourism Shaheen Ali’s welcome remarks during the signing of the Melanesian Free Trade Agreement Prime Minister, Rear Admiral (ret’d.) Joasaia Voreqe
22 Jan 2017 11:00
Another Milestone  In Melanesian Trade
From left: Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama, chair of MSG and Prime Minister of Solomon Islands Manasseh Sogavare, and head of European Union Delegation Ambassador Andrew Jacobs during the signing of the Melanesian Spearhead Group Free Trade Agreement on Friday. Photo: Vilimoni Vaganalau

The following is Permanent Secretary for Industry, Trade and Tourism Shaheen Ali’s welcome remarks during the signing of the Melanesian Free Trade Agreement

Prime Minister, Rear Admiral (ret’d.) Joasaia Voreqe Bainimarama, Chair of MSG and Prime Minister of Solomon Islands, Manasseh Sogavare, Attorney-General and Minister for Economy, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, High Commissioner of PNG, Lucy Bogari, High Commissioner of Solomon Islands, John Patterson Oti, Head of EU Delegation, Andrew Jacobs, Director General of MSG, Amena Yauvoli, Permanent Secretaries, Representatives from the Private Sector, ladies and gentlemen. Bula vinaka and very good morning to you all. Before, I proceed with the formalities, I welcome you all to this special occasion.

We are here today to witness the signing of the Melanesian Free Trade Agreement.

This is the 3rd version of the MSG Trade Agreement, amongst the 4 MSG countries, of Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu.

The earlier/previous versions of the MSG Trade Agreements (versions 1 & 2) have been in existence for 24 year, and have formed the basis of trade and economic relations amongst the MSG countries.

The MSG Region has developed into a strong regional bloc in the Pacific and this is attributed to the commitment of our Leaders to ensure that the trade and investment remains central to our cooperation, and the Trade Agreement works for the benefit of the people.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Today, we will witness another milestone for the MSG Region. After thorough and careful negotiations, by the MSG technical officials, we have before us a progressive and modern agreement, that takes into account the collective aspirations and development needs of each party.

This Agreement focuses on the long term sustainable development of the region.

Ladies and gentlemen,

We are honoured to have with us the MSG Chair and Prime Minister of Solomon Islands, Manasseh Sogavare to witness the signing of the agreement by the Fijian Prime Minister Hon. Voreqe Bainimarama. Solomon Islands was the first party to sign the Agreement.

Fiji would be the second. And after Fiji and Solomon Islands complete their respective domestic processes for ratification, legally, the new Agreement will come into force, and the Private Sector can trade under it.

Ladies and gentlemen,

The new MSG Free Trade Agreement is part of the renewed vision for economic prosperity for the Region, which was set in 2012, when the Fijian Prime Minister, Hon. Bainimarama was the Chair of the MSG.

The Hon. Prime Minister had a vision for a stronger Region – that can carve out a firmer regional and international presence, and that will have a clear vision and roadmap for the future.  This, he believed, could only be achieved through solidarity and shared desire to work together to improve the fortunes of the Melanesian people.

The present Chair of MSG, Hon. Prime Minister Sogavare has continued to guide the Region towards an integrated and prosperous common market and economic union.

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