The Minister of Trade, Commerce and Industry, Hon. Richard Maru announces that the Government of PNG will be hosting the 2nd MSG Investment Roadshow and Trade Fair from 2-4 November 2014 in Port Moresby.

“Trade is one of the key objectives of the MSG amongst other areas and the MSG’s vision for the next 25 years will focus on Economic co-operation and integration and this will remain at the forefront of our objectives. It is also envisaged that sound eeconomic and structural reforms should shape the region to better integratee into the global economy. And with improved economies of scale – greater productivity and increased demand, there is opportunity for economic expansion and development of supporting infrastructures to generate self-reliance” Maru says.

The MSG Trade Agreement, the most successful of its kind in the Pacific, was originally signed in 1993 to spearhead economic integration in our region then revised in 2005 from a positive list to a negative list, and now being re-negotiated, represents a significant shift from the current goods-only agreement to incorporate services and labour mobility and investment.

As such Maru anticipates that the second MSG investment roadshow and trade fair to be held on PNG will open the door for greater sub-regional integration which has already begun in other areas such as the Skills Movement Scheme (SMS) amongst members of the MSG.

The SMS sets the framework for the movement of skilled MSG nationals to fill skills shortages in MSG member countries. PNG will soon launch its national action plan this year.

He also announced that on the margin of the roadshow from 5-6 November 2014, the Heads of Investment Promotion Authorities of the MSG countries will meet to further consider substantive investment matters in the region.

The steps therefore taken by the MSG to promote stronger and deeper regional economic integration and the work done in trade liberalization and advancing Free Trade, through the above initiatives will naturally lead to customs union and common market through such events like the MSG Investment Roadshow and Trade Fair, stated the Minister.

Maru is confident that the progression towards greater economic integration by the MSG economies is consistent with regional initiatives spearheaded by the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) (of which PNG is the only Pacific Island country) as APEC deepens its efforts towards attaining the Bogor Goals, promoting connectivity, and achieving sustainable growth with equity.

“Being the largest sub-region bloc in the Pacific in terms of its population, land mass and and being endowed with more than 90% of the natural resources and bio-diversity, Melanesia is poised to be the region of opportunity, prosperity, and sustained economic growth in the years to come and I am excited to be hosting this event in PNG later this year.

“The event will bring together hundreds of exporters, companies, interested organizations, investment promotion agencies and relevant government officials from the MSG countries from Fiji, PNG, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and the FLNKS of New Caledonia to promote and show case their products and to discuss investment and trade opportunities as well as those challenges that continue to hinder trade and investment in our region. The inaugural roadshow in Fiji in 2013, discussed for instance emerging opportunities for investment and trade in the MSG countries” Maru says

The Minister also announced that a National Committee spearhead by the Department of Trade, Commence and Industry has begun initial preparations for the event which will coincide with the November session of the PNG Parliament as well as the PNG Made Trade Fair.