10 Nov 2015

MSG finalises trade agreement in Noumea

9:12 pm on 10 November 2015

Te Melanesian Spearhead Group has finalised the text of its trade agreement at a meeting in New Caledonia today.

With the MSGTA3 due to be signed on November the 16th, delegates have been in Noumea this week negotiating the text.

The current agreement only refers to goods, while the new one will include services, investment, telecommunications, e-commerce and labour mobility.

Melanesian Spearhead Group flags flown in Noumea.

Melanesian Spearhead Group flags flown in Noumea. Photo: RNZI

The programme manager of trade and investment for the MSG Secretariat, John Licht, says Papua New Guinea has been pressed to relax its visa requirements, in line with the other MSG countries.

"Part of the trade agreement members will feel obliged to relax their immigration requirements, particularly for Papua New Guinea. As we know for Solomons and Fiji and Vanuatu there's no visa requirement, but Papua New Guinea has a case and they have been updating us that it's a work in progress updating their visa requirements."

John Licht says the group has also interviewed 300 people from Mt Hagen in PNG to Tanna in Vanuatu in an effort to promote private sector strategies and small enterprises.