Fiji, Papua New Guinea bolster economic ties

Apr 15, 2024 | Blog, News

Fiji and Papua New Guinea convened a pivotal meeting during the 2024 Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) Budget Foreign Ministers Meeting in Port Vila, Vanuatu recently, in a move toward bolstering economic cooperation,.

The meeting, attended by Papua New Guinea’s Foreign Minister Justin Tkatchenko and Fiji’s Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lenora Qereqeretabua, underscored the burgeoning bilateral engagement between the two nations. This momentum has notably intensified following the reciprocal visits of Prime Minister James Marape and Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka to each other’s capitals last year.

Central to their discussions was the reopening of the Fiji High Commission in Port Moresby, symbolising a tangible reinforcement of ties between the two countries. Tkatchenko and Qereqeretabua further affirmed their support and commitment to deepening relations, contemplating the prompt establishment of diplomatic chanceries in their respective capitals.

Tkatchenko reminded Fiji of Papua New Guinea’s pledge of K5.5 million (US$1.45 million) to aid schools affected by tropical cyclone Wilson in 2016, urging swift identification of needy schools for renovation.

Trade and investment promotion emerged as focal points during the dialogue, with Tkatchenko commending Fiji for its endorsement of the MSG Trade Agreement and expressing Papua New Guinea’s intent to join once internal processes are finalised.

Security cooperation also featured prominently, with Tkatchenko briefing Qereqeretabua on the Pacific Security Training Centre, a collaborative effort with Australia under the BSA, slated for establishment in Bomana. Fiji received an invitation to send its security personnel for training, marking a significant stride in enhancing regional security mechanisms.

In addition, both ministers underscored the necessity of reviewing the existing Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Security Cooperation, considering the evolving security dynamics in the region. They explored the prospect of entering into a Status of Forces Agreement, with discussions slated to commence imminently.

The burgeoning economic collaboration between Fiji and Papua New Guinea underscores a strategic shift towards bolstering bilateral ties, transcending the multilateral PACER Plus deal. As members of the Melanesian Spearhead Group, both nations have opted to prioritize strengthening bilateral engagements, leveraging historical ties and shared regional interests for mutual prosperity and development.