THE recent removal of duty on selected products, by Papua New Guinea (PNG) will provide jobs in Fiji, as well as benefit Papua New Guineans.
This comes after PNG took steps to remove duty on most of the products listed on their negative list, ahead of the scheduled time frame set by the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) in their Trade Agreement.
This move by PNG was acknowledged by the Attorney-General and Minister for Industry and Trade Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum
"We are pleased that PNG has heeded our call, as this will bring tangible benefits to Fijian exporters and will create jobs in Fiji," Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said.
"It will also benefit Papua New Guineans who will be able to enjoy quality Fijian products at competitive prices."
The minister said this move by PNG acted as a signal to other countries, enforcing the need to keep to the commitments made regarding regional trade and economic integration.
"This has been a positive move by PNG, which shows the true spirit of MSG," he said.
The MSG Trade Agreement, which was revised in 2005, removed all existing barriers in trade within the sub-region,
"PNG is a lucrative and rapidly growing market in the region, with a total population of more than seven million, and offers many exciting new prospects for Fijian businesses," he said.
A statement by the Ministry of Information stated that PNG had removed tariffs on numerous items with a few exceptions
"PNG has maintained tariffs only on mackerel, salt and sugar, while the rest of the more than 400 items in their negative list have become duty free with the recent gazettal," it read.
Mr Sayed-Khaiyum noted the importance of the relationship between the Ministry of Industry and Trade and Fijian industries in keeping to the targets set in the Trade Agreement
"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," he said. This way, he said, "more trade can take place under the agreement."