Monday, 10 October 2011 9:14 AM

PNG and Solomon Islands Seek Greater Economic Integration

Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands are championing moves for greater integration of the economies of the Melanesian Spearhead Group of countries.

PNG Prime Minister Peter O'Neill and Prime Minister Danny Phillip met in Port Moresby on Thursday and signed a joint communique' to remove all economic barriers and imposition of work permit requirements, labour mobility and trade restrictions, including tariffs, between the two nations.

The two leaders discussed and exchanged views on bilateral issues of mutual interest that included opening up shipping and air services to Bougainville, increased scholarship quota for Solomon Islands students and opening up teaching positions for surplus teachers from the Solomon Islands.

Officials of the two Melanesian Spearhead nations will work to formalize the agreement soon.

O'Neill said PNG and the Solomon Islands would work to formalize similar agreements with the other MSG nations and with other neighboring Pacific nations outside of the Melanesian sub-region.

O'Neill said PNG and the Solomon Island were close neighbors with cultural links and the two countries would further enhance that relationship with increased development assistance.

Letters to the Editor All Letters
By STEVE BANI Vura Heights, East Honiara
By GEOFFREY MAURIASI USP, Lacuala Campus, Fiji
By CHARLES KOULI Gizo, Western Province