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MSG concludes negotiations on new trade agreement

Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) members have concluded negotiations on the legal text of the MSGTA3 trade agreement that will now include trade in services, and new chapters such as labour mobility, investment, e-commerce and telecommunications.

The trade meetings hosted by the pro-independence FLNKS in New Caledonia worked hard to meet the deadline set by MSG leaders for the trade agreement to be concluded in November 2015.

The next technical working group on the MSGTA3 will meet to clarify and finalise the remaining annexes to the trade agreement before adoption and signing by MSG Trade Ministers and Leaders in 2016.

“I congratulate our officials for working to conclude the MSGTA3 legal text and the private sector development strategy,” said meeting chair Madame Caroline Machoro-Rehnier of the FLNKS.

“We have made decisions on how to progress these important initiatives that will reshape and strengthen the way we trade and do business in Melanesia, that will now allow free trade in goods and services, thus contributing to sustained economic growth and improving the livelihoods of our people,” she said.

The Director Programs of the MSG Secretariat Peni Sikivou praised the trade officials for the manner in which the negotiations were conducted – which reflected true Melanesian solidarity and values.

“Once signed and ratified the new trade agreement will act as a catalyst to stimulate investment, employment and economic growth through deepened economic integration,” Sikivou said.

Key participants at the Trade Ministers Meeting included Ministers, Representative of Ministers, and Senior Trade Officials.

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.

Following the trade meeting – the stage is now set for the region’s biggest and most exciting annual trade event, the MSG Investment Roadshow and Trade Fair which is being held from Wednesday to Friday this week at the Chambres Du dMetiers in Noumea. Over 60 exhibitors from MSG countries have confirmed their participation at the event.

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 the Pacific Integration Technical Assistance Project (PITAP).

Picture Source: 123rf

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