NEW INITIATIVE WILL BOOST MELANESIAN TRADE, SAYS SOLOMONS

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HONIARA, Solomon Islands (December 7, 2000 - Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation/PINA Nius Online)---A new initiative in trade arrangements known as "Negative Listing" could see a free flow of all products traded duty-free among members of the Melanesian Spearhead Group.

This was agreed to by trade officials from the four Melanesian Spearhead Group countries, Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands, at their recent meeting in Port Moresby, a news conference in Honiara heard yesterday.

The head of the Solomon Islands delegation to the trade officials meeting, Heinz Vaekesa, said the new initiative intends to give free access to all goods produced by and traded among Melanesian Spearhead Group members.

He said currently only certain products are given duty free access into the member countries.

Mr. Vaekesa said that under the new initiative, there will be no need to negotiate duty free access of certain goods, as all goods manufactured by the members will be given free access.

Officials agreed that Papua New Guinea and Fiji will implement the negative listing system by year 2003, while Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands will introduce it in 2005.

* Meanwhile, the United States of America will assign an American fisheries enforcement officer to a permanent position at the Forum Fisheries Agency in Honiara.

This was confirmed by new United States Ambassador to the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea, Susan Jacobs.

Ms. Jacobs said the U.S. has benefited from its participation in the Post-Forum dialogue, and further fisheries co-operation through the South Pacific Multi-lateral Fisheries Treaty.

For additional reports from the Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Radio/TV News/Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation.

Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) Website: http://www.pinanius.org 

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