1 Apr 2011

MSG calls for more co-operation to achieve Pacific islands prosperity

8:47 am on 1 April 2011

The MSG Leaders Summit has concluded with leaders agreeing to a range of outcomes, notably provisions for closer trade and economic links.

The host and MSG chair, Fiji's interim Prime Minister Commodore Frank Bainimarama, says greater co-operation between the MSG countries is imperative to achieving his vision of a prosperous Pacific.

Johnny Blades reports from Suva

"Melanesian leaders have endorsed a broad vision on the future MSG economic integration. It involves the possible creation of a common market through the expansion of the MSG Trade Agreement into provisions for trade in services as well as a labour mobility scheme."

The Closer Economic Relations agenda also includes a strengthening of the Trade agreement by addressing inconsistencies with other regional trade agreements, while the leaders have approved a timeline to conclude the long-running negotiations with the European Union on the Economic Partnership Agreements, or EPAs, by the end of this year.

The MSG leaders have also come out strongly in support of the re-inclusion of Fiji in all regional trade discussions, issuing a broad threat of pushing for a change in the location and management of the EPA negotiations if Fiji continues to be excluded.