10 Dec 2002

Smaller Pacific nations told they must move with globalisation

5:57 pm on 10 December 2002

The honorary president of Papua New Guinea's Manufacturers' Council and a member of PNG's Melanesian Spearhead Group negotiating team, Wayne Golding, says it's a concern that the free trade agreement is causing so much frustration.

The Pacific Area Network on Globalisation or PANG says it is not surprising that both Solomon Islands and Vanuatu are struggling with the MSG arrangement.

Solomons temporarily opted out of the deal, while Vanuatu is re-introducing tariffs on some goods.

PANG says the smaller Melanesian countries can't compete while being flooded with goods from Fiji and PNG, which do not bring any local benefits.

But Wayne Golding says the frustrations are common symptoms of the general pattern of global trade, and the smaller countries of the Pacific need to re-structure to be able to grow....

"A lot of the small Island countries are perhaps not addressing their domestic economy in a manner that is conducive for them to participate in an FTA or free trade arrangement. The Pacific Island countries have to embrace globalisation. Re-shaping goals in Pacific Island countries requires a tremendous amount of political will and of course understanding."

Wayne Golding.