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Focus on MSG trade agreement before PACER-plus: Sol Islands PM

Fiji Times | March 10, 2016

Trade pact boost

Ropate Valemei

THE Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) will have to work on the new and stronger MSG trade agreement (MTA) before the finalisation of the Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations (PACER) Plus.

This was revealed by the Prime Minister of Solomon Islands and MSG chairman, Manasseh Sogavare, during a press conference at the Grand Pacific Hotel in Suva yesterday.

PACER Plus is a trade and economic integration agreement that aims to create jobs, raise standards of living and encourage sustainable economic development in the Pacific region.

Mr Sogavare said they needed to discuss the issue at the MSG Leaders’ Summit and were hoping to finalise the MSG trade agreement between the MSG countries by May this year.

"We need to raise again the discussion of PACER Plus as you know the only trade agreement that is working in this region is the MSG trade agreement," Mr Sogavare said.

"We would like to move ahead before we are overtaken by the finalisation of PACER Plus and that’s the method we are taking."

Mr Sogavare and government delegates met Foreign Affairs Minister Ratu Inoke Kubuabola yesterday to discuss investments on education, trade and other bilateral agreements that are expected to benefit both countries.

Solomon Islands has benefited tremendously from trade with Fiji.

"This is not only in trade but also in Fiji investments in Solomon Islands. We have more than 50 investors from PNG investing in Solomon Islands and also a big number of investors from Fiji."

Meanwhile, he says more talks are needed in the area of aviation.

"In terms of aviation, that matter is still on the table and we acknowledge and praise ourselves because there had been hiccups seven months ago.

"This is the matter that we will have to have more talks on and will allow the talks to go up to technical level to start this discussion and then we will take it up to the ministerial level," he said.

 source: Fiji Times