At the official opening of the five-day workshop, the Deputy Director General Peter Eafeare said the focus of workshop was to raise awareness about the various trade agreements and also develop strategies to support the implementation of trade facilitation initiatives in the MSG region.
The current Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) Trade Agreement, being one of the pioneer regional integration initiative in the Pacific, currently facilitates free movement of goods with Melanesia.
In 2017, the MSG Leaders endorsed the Melanesian Free Trade Agreement (MFTA) with its scope extending beyond trade in goods to include new areas of trade in services, labour mobility and cross border investments.
Mr Eafeare added that as the most progressive trade agreement, the MFTA clearly reflects the MSG Leaders commitment to achieve regional integration in Melanesia.
He also reaffirmed the pivotal role that customs play in facilitating trade.
He is confident that the workshop will provide the opportunity to improving knowledge and understanding of national policies and regulations regarding the administration and enforcement of the MSG Trade Agreement, the transitional arrangements towards the ratification of the new MFTA and other regional trade agreements and trade facilitation initiatives.
He congratulated participating customs officials from the MSG member countries and emphasized the recognition and the importance of ensuring that MSG member country’s facilitation initiatives align with the Leaders decisions towards sub-regional initiative to enhance the competency of customs administrations on trade facilitation issues.
Photo supplied. Caption: Customs Officials from MSG member countries and workshop facilitators