24 Aug 2009

Melanesian Spearhead Group meeting underway to discuss Fiji's participation in trade talks

3:35 pm on 24 August 2009

A meeting of the Melanesian Spearhead Group is currently underway in Fiji to discuss the country's participation in regional trade talks.

According to Fiji Live news, the meeting is taking place at Borron House in Suva and includes the foreign ministers of Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea and Fiji.

The MSG leaders have given their support to the interim Fiji Government after meeting in Vanuatu last month, prior to the Forum leaders' meeting in Cairns in Australia.

Fiji's suspension from the Pacific Islands Forum in May for failing to meet to an election deadline resulted in its ban from Forum meetings, including talks for a Pacific free trade agreement.

However, the MSG leaders believe Fiji should be part of the PACER-Plus negotiations, taking into account the legal opinion that Fiji's role in the trade agreements is separate to its Forum status.