29 Feb 2012

Vanuatu concern over MSG trade deal

1:48 pm on 29 February 2012

The Vanuatu Chamber of Commerce and Industry is calling for a suspension of trade agreements with other Melanesian countries.

The Chamber says cheap products are being imported which don't fall under the rules of origin of the Melanesian Spearhead Group trade agreement.

Vanuatu's trade deficit has continually increased since 2005, and under the agreement, it imports the vast majority of products from Fiji.

The chamber's CEO, Louis Kalnpel, wouldn't comment on the products that they're concerned about, but says local manufacturers want a fair deal.

"We say competition, but we must recognised that some countries are more advanced than us. But under those same rules of origin, we feel like we are threatened within the MSG countries that would be OK, but some of them are coming from as far away as Saudi Arabia."

Louis Kalnpel says the Chamber is working with the government and hoping to have a proposal to put to an MSG meeting next month.