Government of the Republic of Fiji
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
A Better Fiji through Excellence in Foreign Service
May 08, 2013: The Melanesian Spearhead Group projects significant growth in intra-MSG trade for 2013 and 2014 based on statistics and positive developments.
Permanent secretary for Industry & Trade and MSG Trade and Economic Officials meeting chairman, Shaheen Ali said the period 2005 to 2009 saw a substantial increase of intra-MSG trade exports rise by more than 300 per cent.
Mr Ali added that Fiji’s total trade with the Pacific Island countries has increased from less than 1 per cent in 2000 to 4.5 per cent in 2010.
Mr Ali, while opening the three-day MSG Trade and Economic Officials meeting today, said that approximately 45 per cent of this trade was now with MSG countries.
“It’s not these numbers alone that are important, it is what they represent,” Mr Ali said.
“The steady growth in trade is a result of our leaders’ bold vision of a truly integrated Pacific, beginning with a truly integrated MSG.”
To this end, Mr Ali pointed out that MSG trade and economic officials needed to work towards a “common economic union”, which is tailor-made to take into account the MSG unique characteristics.
“This will entail a creation of a “common market”, with the free movement of goods, services, labour and capital,” PS Ali said.
The MSG Trade and Economic Officials meeting chair also added that trade and economic cooperation in Fiji formed the foundation for prosperity and growth in the region.
“Fiji has just returned from a hugely successful Trade and Investment Mission to Papua New Guinea that I have no doubt will lead to many new opportunities for both nations,” PS Ali said.
“In turn the momentum achieved from this mission, we hope, will lead to further integration between all countries of the MSG.”
Highlighting the success in trade for MSG countries, PS Ali stated countries were already on the right path with the implementation of the MSG Trade Agreement, MSG MOU on Skills Movement Scheme and Prime Minister Bainimarama’s announcement of the removal of pre-entry visa requirements for Fijians visiting PNG amongst other things.
The meeting ends on Thursday.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs P. O. Box 2220 Government Buildings Suva, Fiji