Trade and Commerce Secretary Jim Andreas said while delivering a speech on behalf of Trade and Commerce Minister Richard Maru to MSG Trade Ministers and representatives of business houses and statutory bodies from member countries as well as special guests and partners of MSG during the opening of the 2nd MSG Seminar in Port Moresby yesterday.
He said the seminar was an opportunity for member countries to share ideas on how to promote investment opportunities in the MSG sub-regional block, as well as for them to finalize discussions on the best options to include an Investment Chapter in the new framework of the current MSG Trade Agreement, the MSGTA3.
"Our leaders expect the officials and Ministers (at the seminar) to deliver a complete package of MSGTA3 by the end of 2016 under which there is an agreement to insert a key chapter on investment
"That chapter is important because without investments there can never be trade happening between our countries. There must be more investments happening in all our sectors which provide the best advantage," he said. Mr Andreas said the draft format of the agreement covers areas from investment facilitation to dispute resolution.
He said the terms of the MSGTA3 Text once completed will "achieve greater certainty and clarity" in the member countries’ investment environment and uncover opportunities for both international and regional investors.
Mr Andreas admitted that despite the differing developmental challenges of each MSG country, they can benefit from feeding off each other’s success and growth , a prospect he said PNG as the biggest economy in the Pacific region is willing to examine given its huge development potential and current economic growth.
"Investment within our sub region offers that possibility so while we talk about attracting investments from outside the region, there are even greater opportunities for us to promote wider and deeper intra-regional investments between both the recipient as well as the country whence the investment came from," he said.
He added this can be achieved given the cultural context of the countries fostering better understanding of each other and adaptability towards each other.