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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (November 30, 2000 - Post-Courier/PINA Nius Online)---A draft report being reviewed by Melanesian Spearhead Group economic and trade officials here includes formalizing a quarantine committee, holding a shipping conference, and establishing a business council.

The quarantine sub-committee, which until now has operated under a temporary arrangement, was formally endorsed by the meeting. The Solomon Islands was asked to find funding from various agencies to print a quarantine handbook for member countries.

The Solomon Islands will also host the second shipping conference at a date yet to be set.

A representative said that as a result of the first meeting, shipping services had increased, vessels had more tonnage and there had been increased linkages among member countries.

The first shipping conference also was hosted by the Solomon Islands and coordinated by Papua New Guinea.

The movement of business people between the Melanesian Spearhead Group countries was also an agenda item. While it was not an issue in the Solomon Islands, Fiji and Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea was asked to clarify the arrangements it had.

A proposal for a Melanesian Spearhead Group Business Council was made to promote business activities. Terms of reference are already in place and will be developed and approved by members.

Vanuatu called for the business council to decide who should be eligible to move around freely within the Melanesian Spearhead Group countries.

A name change for the Melanesian Spearhead Group is also expected to be decided by January. Two proposals for the name change were made by Papua New Guinea and will be considered while the other members will also make their contributions.

Papua New Guinea has been told to follow up on developing a technical assistant expert registry.

A PNG foreign affairs officer said they had sought the help of the National Research Institute to set up the registry and the response to cover all member countries had been favorable.

Papua New Guinea Trade and Industry Secretary and chairman of the meeting Michael Maue said Papua New Guinea and Fiji, under the bilateral trade agreement, have also been meeting to discuss issues of trade between them.

For additional reports from The Post-Courier, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/The Post-Courier (Papua New Guinea).

Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) Website: 

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