SOLOMON ISLANDS REVIEWING MELANESIAN SPEARHEAD GROUP BENEFITS

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HONIARA, Solomon Islands (December 7, 1999 – Radio Australia)---The Solomon Islands government is reviewing the benefits of the Melanesian Spearhead Group and its trade agreements.

Presenting his year 2000 Budget, Finance Minister Alpha Kimata said the Solomon Islands derives little benefit from the MSG trade agreement.

He said while Solomon Islands imports more from MSG member countries, it exports less (to Fiji, Papua New Guinea, New Caledonia and Vanuatu), which is a loss in government revenue.

Mr. Kimata said the manufacturing industry is disadvantaged as it imports finished goods with added value while local manufacturers have to pay duty on their imports.

He said the government hopes to review the costs and benefits of the MSG agreement as part of the country's overall review of trade and competitiveness.

For additional reports from Radio Australia, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Radio/TV News/Radio Australia.

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