Fiji Signs Melanesian Spearhead Group Trade Agreement

Fiji is the second MSG member country to sign the new agreement, commended for expediting MSG member trade

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, January 21, 2017) – The Melanesian Spearhead Group Chair, Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare has welcomed Fiji's signing of the new Melanesian Free Trade Agreement (MFTA) in Suva, Fiji.

The signing of the MFTA by Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama was presided over by the Director General of the MSG Secretariat, Amena Yauvoli and was witnessed by the MSG Chair, Fiji's Minister for Trade and Tourism, government officials and Foreign Diplomatic Missions in Fiji.

The signing ceremony held at the Prime Minister's Office immediately followed the conclusion of Mr Sogavare's consultation visit with his Fiji counterpart.

The MSG Chair described Fiji's signing of the new MFTA as 'yet another milestone occasion' of the Melanesian sub-regional grouping.

He said Fiji is the second MSG member country to sign the new agreement. Solomon Islands which signed the MFTA in November 2016 was the first country to do so.

"Fiji is a key player under the MFTA and therefore its signing of the new MFTA will give effect towards its coming into force when two or more parties are able to also sign and ratify the treaty and deposit their instruments of ratification with the MSG Secretariat," Mr Sogavare said.

On that note, he commended the Government, Private Sector and People of Fiji for being at the forefront of the MFTA by taking serious 'leap' steps in expediting trade with other MSG markets and in doing so have rendered benefits of choice as well as healthy and affordable products to people within the Melanesian region.

The MSG Chair also commended the Fiji Government for its contribution and support in taking the MFTA negotiations to its 'final conclusion' stage,' adding that today's signing is a solid step towards the ratification and implementation of the new agreement.

The Melanesian Spearhead Group is composed of the four Melanesian states of Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu, and the Kanak and Socialist National Liberation Front of New Caledonia.

In June 2015, Indonesia was recognised as an associate member.

Radio New Zealand International
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