22 May 2013

PNG's Maru keen for a common market in MSG nations

4:49 am on 22 May 2013

Papua New Guinea's Trade Minister says he wants to see a common market established in the Melanesian Spearhead Group of nations before it is extended to the wider Pacific.

Richard Maru says he is against PNG being part of the PACER Plus scheme, which is strongly favoured by New Zealand and Australia, because the trade imbalance means there is no benefit for his country.

As well as PNG, the MSG group includes Fiji, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and the FLNKS of New Caledonia and Mr Maru says he wants to see trade among these states bedded down first.

He says this is already underway with duty free market access.

"over the next few years all of us will be able to trade duty free goods with each other. Now this year we are also going down the path of looking at labour mobility among the MSG countries. Lets get that working first. Once we have got it embedded down we should look at the trading of services. Once we have got that we will have some experience in running a trading bloc. After we have had an evaluation of that, I mean a couple of years down the track we could start looking at the whole of the Pacific."

Papua New Guinea trade minister, Richard Maru.