News 15 Nov 2018
The Oceania Customs Organisation (OCO) Secretariat and the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) Secretariat have signed a Memorandum of Understanding. They will share information and technical expertise on interest areas such as trade facilitation, revenue mobilisation and border security.
This MOU was signed between the OCO Head of Secretariat Roy Lagolago and MSG Director General Amena Yauvoli at the OCO Conference Room in Suva on Tuesday.
"Two weeks ago the MSG Secretariat had supported the OCO Secretariat by co-financing a workshop on regional trade and World Trade Organisation (WTO) trade facilitation agreement implementation for senior custom officials from the MSG sub-region," said Mr Yauvoli.
"This collaborative action and partnership enables customs officials to identify strategies towards the implementation of the new Melanesian Free Trade Agreement for MSG member countries.
"The successful conclusion of the sub-regional workshop for senior officials from customs administration in the MSG countries brings to the fore the need to forge new partnerships with strategic regional institutions such as the OCO Secretariat."
Through their collaborative partnership the MSG Secretariat recognises the important role OCO plays in delivering its mandate on customs, trade facilitation, revenue mobilisation and security.
Mr Yauvoli said the functions of OCO Secretariat also complimented and supported the MSG Secretariat Core Mandate to achieve the MSG Leader's Vision of regional integration in the MSG sub-region.
"The MOU sets the pathway for mutual partnership, collaboration and co-operation amongst the two organisations in a number of areas such as trade, customs, trade facilitations and security," he said.
"This is also the first ever MOU to be signed by our organisations so this is a land mark initiative which is best witnessed to the historic nature of this occasion."
In addition, the OCO Head of Secretariat Mr Lagolago said the MSG customs and administration aside from Australia and New Zealand are the largest in the OCO membership which represented over 60 per cent of Customs Officers in Pacific Island Countries (PICs).
"Given the development of MSG members, strengthening of co-operation amongst members to implement trade facilitation measures can help drive regional integration," he said.
"Furthermore the effective implementation for the bigger administration can provide a platform for assistance to the small customs administration in the OCO region.
"This partnership is expected to promote South-South co-operation between member states of both organisations enabling the exchange of idea, experiences, and best practices to strengthen custom reforms and modernisation in the OCO regions."