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Three North Pacific nations, Federated States of Micronesia, Marshall Islands and Palau have signed an historic Treaty that establishes the Micronesian Trade and Economic Community.
The treaty was signed in the margins of the 3rd International Conference on Small Island Developing States in Apia last week.
Presidents Emmanuel Mori of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), Christopher Loeak of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and Tommy Remensgau Jr. of the Republic of Palau, officially formalized their historical trade and economic bonds when they signed the Treaty establishing the Micronesian Trade and Economic Community.
The vision and goals of the Treaty are to ‘…endeavor towards the creation of a Micronesian Trade and economic community through the promotion of sub-regional trade and economic cooperation and integration to support the achievement of sustainable and equitable socio-economic development of its Member States and improve the standard and quality of life of their People, thus contributing to the progress and development of Asia and the Pacific Region.’
In their statements, the three Presidents emphasized the historical importance of the event.
President Mori said the new Treaty is a ‘true reflection of the Micronesian spirit of collaboration which characterized the relations between the three entities.’
He indicated that the Treaty provides the appropriate institutional framework through which small producers of the three countries could network and meet the demands of the domestic and international markets, in particular for agriculture, aquaculture, and tourism products.
President Mori noted that there were provisions in the Treaty allowing the Republic of Kiribati, Nauru, and the Territories of Guam and Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands to join at a later stage.
President Christopher Loeak of Marshall Islands said ‘the signing marked a significant milestone for the three nations in their efforts to fully integrate trade and economic initiatives.’
President Loeak also stressed that ‘the Micronesian Trade and Economic cooperation and integration initiative constituted a building block towards greater integration of the three Countries in the Pacific, Asia and the global economy as envisaged in the New Framework for Pacific Regionalism.’
Taking the example of the copra industry which collapsed in Palau 20 years ago, President Tommy Remensgau Jr. stressed that through sub-regional trade and economic cooperation and integration pursued under the treaty, it would be possible for productive sector to consolidate the volume of the products available; and thus increase the raw material available to support the development of small industries.
The Presidents of the three countries commended the partnership between the MTC Interim Secretariat and technical agencies (the Commonwealth Secretariat-EU funded Hub & Spokes Programme II, ESCAP, the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, and the Melanesian Spearhead Group Secretariat), which led to the development of the Treaty; and invited Development Partners present, among which Australia and the United States of America, to lend their support to the successful implementation of the Treaty.
The Deputy Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, Cristelle Pratt commended the FSM, RMI, and Palau for their sub-regional integration efforts, and re-affirmed PIFS’ unwavering support for the implementation phase of the Treaty.
The signing of the Treaty establishing the Micronesian Trade and Economic Community was attended by the Prime Minister of Samoa and President of the 3rd International Conference on SIDS, Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, as well as Presidents and Prime Ministers of the Cook Island, Kiribati, Nauru, Tonga, Vanuatu and Tuvalu.
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