FIJI'S trade with Papua New Guinea could soon take a new turn following the removal of products listed on PNG's negative list.
In a press conference yesterday, Attorney-General and Minister for Trade Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said the Bainimarama government had been calling on all member nations to fully implement the Melanesian Spearhead Group Trade Agreement.
"We are pleased that PNG has heeded our call as this will bring tangible benefits to Fijian exporters and will create jobs in Fiji. It will also benefit Papua New Guineans who will be able to enjoy quality Fijian products at competitive prices," Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said.
He said it was a positive move by PNG which showed the true spirit of MSG and signalled to other Pacific Islands the commitment MSG countries had towards regional trade and economic integration.
"PNG is a lucrative and rapidly growing market in the region, with a total population of more than 7 million, and offers many exciting new prospects for Fijian businesses and new opportunities for job creation," Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said.
Fiji's annual exports to PNG are about $7.6million the majority of which will now enter PNG duty free. Fiji imports about $4.2 million from PNG annually),
However, PNG has maintained tariffs only on mackerel, salt and sugar while the rest of about 400 items on their negative list have become duty free with the recent gazettal.
"The Ministry of Industry and Trade will work closely with the Fijian industries to enable them to fully understand the rules and requirements of the MSG Trade Agreement so that more trade can take place under the agreement."