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SUVA, Fiji Islands (March 3, 1999 - PACNEWS/INCL)---The Fiji government has endorsed a preferential trade agreement among the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) nations.

The agreement covers a list of 231 agricultural and manufactured items that will be traded at preferential tariff rates among Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu, the countries that make up the MSG.

A Fiji government statement announced that Fiji will benefit from the agreement through lower tariff rates and the opportunity to expand its export markets.

Fiji's trade with MSG countries has been minimal. Last year, exports to the Group accounted for just 1.3 percent of total exports. In 1997, the figure stood at 1.5 percent.

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