ISLANDS LAWMAKERS WANT END TO TRADE BARRIERS

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By Jojo Dass

SAIPAN, Northern Mariana Islands (May 1, 2001 - Marianas Variety/PINA Nius Online)---The Association of Pacific Island Legislatures has adopted a resolution asking member governments to "reduce barriers" so that free trade within the region is "maximized."

The association noted that the "long-standing tradition of trade" among Pacific Islands peoples "has not lost its vitality in the modern economy." Many entrepreneurs continue to "desire to export and import" goods throughout the islands.

However, it said "unnecessary legal and administrative hurdles" have "restricted the free flow of commerce" which has consequently "hurt" the economies of all Pacific Island nations.

To address this concern, the Association of Pacific Island Legislatures moved to request the governments of each member to "review trade and restrictions and cooperate in the elimination of unnecessary barrier to free trade."

Resolution 39 was adopted during the Association of Pacific Island Legislatures board of directors’ recent 39th meeting held on Pohnpei.

The Association of Pacific Island Legislatures is composed of representatives from the Northern Marianas, American Samoa, the Federated States of Micronesia, the Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, Guam, Hawai‘i and Kiribati.

Improved trade relations in the region, according to the Association of Pacific Island Legislatures board, could pave the way for increased economic activities among Pacific Islands nations.

Rep. Dino M. Jones, Saipan, who attended the conference, said it is hoped that governments in the region would abide by the resolution’s intent.

The resolution was introduced by the Palau delegation.

The Association of Pacific Island Legislatures leadership has likewise expressed concerns over the reduction of airline services to the region.

It asked each member to "investigate the monopolistic environment within the airline industry."

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

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