The Tenth States and National Leadership Conference (SNLC) held at the Rose Mackwelung Public Library in Tofol, Kosrae

Press Release:
Tofol, Kosrae. March 18, 2017

1.  The Tenth SNLC officially opened on Saturday morning, March 18, 2017 at the Rose Mackwelung Public Library, Tofol, Kosrae, under the Chairmanship of the Honorable Lyndon H. Jackson, Governor, State of Kosrae, following an opening prayer delivered by Reverend Takeo Likiaksa, who drew inspiration from the Bible, Book of Proverbs, Chapter 16, Verse 3 “commit to the Lord whatever you do and your plans will succeed”.

2.  During the two-day conference, the SNLC Principals discussed critical issues for the economic and social development of the FSM including: national security priorities; international ship and port security measures; health issues focusing on non-communicable disease trends, health sector human resource capacity development, off-island referrals and manpower issues, and medical insurance under MiCare; World Bank fiber-optic cable projects; and revisiting of the tax reform.

3.  The 10th SNLC also received updates on progress in the establishment of PMOs at the State level and the latest development in the implementation of Compact funded infrastructure projects. In addition, Pohnpei and Chuuk States presented on the topics of local revenue sharing between the National and State Government, financial needs of State Governments, and selection and implementation of development Projects throughout the Nation.

4.  Frank and open discussion on the above issues led to the adoptions of important decisions, along with seven Resolutions on:

001 – To urge the National Government to seek all proper means to sustain the Nauru Airlines flights to Kosrae
002 – To Endorse the Establishment of a Diagnostic Health Facility as Remedy to a Referral System, and Support Health Man-Power Development Programs, National Legislative Measures and an Effective Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) Monitoring and Surveillance System.
003 – In support of the FSM’s World Bank funded ICT Projects and immediate action to meet the project disbursement conditions.
004 – To urge the National Government to develop alternative options to reform the tax system of the Federated States of Micronesia.
005 – Reaffirming the mandate for all Governments to collaborate on available financial resources in light of unmet needs.
006- To urge the National Government through its appropriate departments and agencies to regularly invite input and recommendations from the state counterparts to ensure that the State and National priorities are clearly aligned for the betterment of our nation.
007 – To request that the State and National Leadership of the Federated States of Micronesia establish and adopt a tracking system on all issues, discussions and recommendations at the conclusion of the Conference Agenda for reference and update in future State and National Leadership Conferences.

5.  Mr. Redley Killion, President of the FSMACC addressed the 10th SNLC, focusing on areas where swift actions are required from the State and National Governments to improve and grow the FSM economy with a view to generate the needed revenue, including FSM Development Bank and commercial banks’ high interest rates; infrastructure Development Fund for capital equity for local businesses; completion of land survey and titling; general lack of skill manpower development, in particular the need to speed up the implementation of 9th SNLC Resolution 001 to Endorse the Establishment of a National Career and Technical Education School; cost of fuel and utilities; current tax structure; and high cost and poor communication services. Finally, Mr. Killion indicated the FSMACC’s support for the proposal to centralize foreign investment permit processes at the national level and the need to ensure that measures are put in place to enhance local business development and protect small businesses.

6. During the 10th SNLC, Mr. Fredy S. Perman, Vice-President and COO of FSM Telecom (FSMTC), informed the 10th SNLC that beginning May 1, 2017, the rate for interstate mobile calls will be same as intrastate mobile calls.

7.  Under miscellaneous, the Principals, discussed progress towards the establishment of an Office of Veterans Affairs, implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities following its ratification by Congress, uniformed/harmonization of minimum wage, Public sector reform, and hosting of the 2018 Micro Games by the State of Yap.

8.  The 10th SNLC was attended Hon. Yosiwo P. George, Vice-President of the FSM; Hon. Wesley Simina, Speaker of the 19th FSM Congress; Hon. Lyndon H. Jackson, Governor, State of Kosrae; Hon. Tulensa Palik, Speaker, Kosrae State 11th Legislature Hon. Johnson Elimo, Governor, State of Chuuk; Hon. Reed B. Oliver, Lt Governor, State of Pohnpei; Hon. Fernado Scaliem, Speaker, Pohnpei State 9th Legislature; Hon. Theodore Rutun, Speaker, Yap State 9th Legislature; and Mr. Francis Itimai, Director, Department of Youth and Civic Affairs, Yap State, Representative of Hon. Anthony Ganngiyan, Governor, State of Yap.

9.  The Conference was also attended by Honorable Members of the FSM Congress and Senators of State Legislatures; Ms. Joanne Cummings, Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of the United States of America to the FSM and Captain Jim Pruett, Commanding Officer, US Coast Guard, Guam Sector; Cabinet Members of the FSM National and State Governments; Members of the Private Sector led by Mr. Redley Killion, President of the FSM Association of Chambers of Commerce (FSMACC); and Kosrae Municipal and Church Leaders.

The Communiqué and Resolutions were signed by the five Heads of Delegations for the 10th FSM SNLC which concluded the Conference on March 20, 2017.

For details, please contact the SNLC Secretariat, Department of Resources and Development, by email: fsmrd@fsmrd.fm or telephone: +691 320-2620/2646/5133.

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Data Communication and Infographics Basics Workshop for Data Providers

Press Release #S001-17
Palikir, Pohnpei – Dept of R and D
March 3, 2017

Participants of the Data Communication and Infographics Basics Workshop for Data Providers

In the week of 20-24 February 2017, 13 employees from the national government participated in the Data Communications and Infographics Basics Workshop at the Central Facility at the government complex in Palikir.  The participants represented the Department of Education, Department of Justice, Department of Resources and Development, and NORMA.

The objective of the workshop was to teach participants how to turn complex information and data into infographics (pictorial presentation of the data) for a wider dissemination, with a primary focus on Household Income and Expenditure (HIES) based statistics. The training targeted data producers or providers and was specifically designed for National Statistical Offices communicators.

During the workshop, the participants learned: how to think about data and the visual communication of data; how to conceptualize an infographic that reinforces their message; and how to make their inforgraphic-design easily understood by a wider audience.

“The whole point of the exercise really is to enable robust ‘evidence-based’ decision making or policy formulation. When information is presented in an easy to understand manner, and infographics do that in a dynamic way, it has higher chance of being utilized in high-level decision making processes, and thus to improving our citizens’ lives”, said the Assistant Secretary for Statistics, Ms. Brihmer Johnson.

The workshop was organized by the Statistics for Development Division (SDD) of the Pacific Community (SPC) in Noumea and the Statistics Division of the Department of Resources and Development (DRD). It was a follow-up to the HIES Data Analysis Workshop conducted in September last year, at which time the participants learned basic data analysis skills, brainstormed on concepts for infographics to convey key messaged relevant to their program areas. This workshop provided the participants the opportunity to transform these ideas into infographics, with the guidance of Infographics Expert, Ms. Gaelle Le Galle.

Mr. David Syne, IT Manager from the Education Department said “infographics is very interesting and relevant to my work. I’m excited to begin using this tool and sharing the education ‘story’. It would get the message across easily, and in an eye-pleasing manner too”.

By the end of the workshop the participants were able to produce 20 posters. The final versions will be availed to the public upon completion of data checks and validation process. To view a sample poster click here.

For further information, please contact the Division of Statistics, Department of Resources & Development at (691) 320 2646/5133/2620 or email: fsmrd@fsmrd.fm.

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Environmental and Social Management Framework (ESMF)

The ESMF framework provides principles and guidelines which are consistent with laws of the Pacific Island Countries that are involved in energy projects and is also relevant to the World Bank Safeguard Policies.

For more information on ESMF please refer to the document under the Energy section. Simply click on home and you can find Energy on the first Menu.

 

Thank you.

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The 7th Ministers’ Meeting of the Micronesian Trade and Economic Community (MTEC), July 13, 2015

The 7th Ministers’ Meeting of the Micronesian Trade and Economic Community (MTEC) discussed trade and investment facilitation and harmonization of labor and immigration legislations between the FSM, RMI, and Palau.

Majuro, Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI), July 13, 2015

The 7th Trade Ministers’ Meeting was held on 13 July, 2015 at the PSC Conference Centre in Majuro, RMI. The Meeting was attended by the Honorable Marion Henry, Secretary, Development of Resources and Development (Federated States of Micronesia (FSM)), the Honorable Michael Konelios, Minister of Resources and Development, RMI, and the Honorable F.Umiich Sengebau, Minister of Natural Resources, Environment and Tourism, Republic of Palau (Palau). The objective of the meeting was to discuss the recent developments in intra-regional trade and investment in the Micronesian sub-region, the MTEC trade and investment facilitation roadmap, harmonization of labour and immigration laws between MTEC members, ongoing negotiations involving MTEC Member States, and finally the conduct of the MTEC Interim Secretariat’s affairs.

In this opening statement, the Honorable Michael Konelios, Minister of Resources and Development, RMI, underscored the importance of the 7th MTEC Ministers’ Meeting in moving forward the broader issues of interest to MTEC Member States. He informed the Meeting that RMI ratified the MTEC Treaty in February 2015, thus becoming the first country to complete the ratification process and highlighted two areas of “early harvest” which should be given priority by the Member States: harmonization of labor and immigration laws to ease the movement of people and workers within the sub-region and the removal of non-tariff barriers through the implementation of trade facilitation measures.

The Honorable Marion Henry reaffirmed FSM’s support towards advancing sub-region integration as substantiated by the institutional support currently provided to the MTEC Interim Secretariat by the FSM Government through the Department of Resources and Development. He reiterated the importance of trade and investment facilitation measures and the harmonization of labor and immigration laws as initial steps towards the sub-regional integration. The Honorable Sengebau informed the Meeting that a draft resolution on the ratification has been submitted to the Parliament and reaffirmed Palau’s commitment to support the operations of the MTEC Interim Secretariat.

With respect to trade and investment facilitation measures, the 7th MTEC Ministers’ Meeting noted the preliminary findings of the trade and investment facilitation needs assessment Workshop and endorsed the MTEC Trade and Investment Facilitation roadmap held on July 7-9, 2015, and directed the MTEC Interim Secretariat, in collaboration with Member States, to mobilize resources available from relevant technical agencies such as ITC, UNCTAD, and the Commonwealth Secretariat, as well as traditional and non-traditional development partners to implement the MTEC Trade and Investment Facilitation Roadmap. In addition, MTEC Ministers discussed and agreed among other things to start right away, the creation of a database of private sector doing business in the region for dissemination.

With respect to harmonization of labor and immigration laws between the FSM, RMI, and Palau, MTEC Ministers noted that presently nationals from the FSM and Palau are granted visa-free entry into the RMI for an unlimited period of time and do not require a permit to work in the RMI; and that these benefits were not reciprocated to RMI citizens. The 7th MTEC Ministers recalled that the issue was already discussed during the 12th Micronesian Presidents’ Summit and that action was needed. The issue will be reviewed with Ministers and Officials responsible for Labor and Immigration at the next MTEC Meeting to discuss progress made. The 7th MTEC Ministers’ Meeting also considered updates in ongoing trade negotiations involving the FSM, RMI, and Palau, in particular the negotiations for the Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations (PACER) Plus negotiations between Forum Island Countries and Australia and New Zealand and the negotiations for the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between Pacific Countries and the European Union.

Finally, MTEC Ministers agreed to mobilize annual voluntary financial contributions to support the implementation of the MTEC 2015-2019 Work Program to achieve the objectives and goals of the MTEC.

For more information, please contact: MTEC Interim Secretariat/FSM Department of Resources and Development; telephone (691) 320-2646/5133; fax: (691) 320-5854; e-mail: mtcinterimsecretariat@fsmrd.fm.

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Micronesian Trade and Economic Community (MTEC) Workshop, July 7-9, 2015

The FSM, RMI, and Palau complete their preliminary trade and investment facilitation needs assessment with the technical assistance of the Commonwealth Secretariat Hub & Spokes II Programme teamed up with the International Trade Centre (ITC), the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), and the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) during a sub-regional workshop on July 7-9, 2015.

Majuro, Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI), July 09, 2015

The Sub-regional Workshop on Trade and Investment Facilitation needs assessment for Member States of the Micronesian Trade and Economic Community (MTEC), which took place on July 7-9, 2015, at the Public Service Commission Conference Room, in Majuro, Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI), was convened by the MTEC Interim Secretariat currently headed by the FSM Department of Resources and Development. The Workshop brought together 37 Senior Government Officials, Port Authorities, and Private Sector representatives from the FSM, RMI, and Palau, as well as a representative from the Micronesian Shipping Commission (MSC). This very important activity, identified in by the FSM, RMI, and the Republic of Palau in the 2015-2019 MTEC Work Program, was facilitated by the Commonwealth Secretariat Hub & Spokes II Programme, the International Trade Centre (ITC), the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), and the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP).

The Workshop contributed to strengthen participants’ capacity in trade and investment facilitation, shipping connectivity, and cross border paperless trade through presentations delivered by Dr. Saeed, Chef Trade Facilitation Section, ITC, Dr. Hoffman, Chief, Trade Facilitation Section, UNCTAD, Dr. Yann Duval, Chief Trade Facilitation, Trade and Investment Division, and Mr. Sangwon Lim, Economic Affairs Officer, Trade Facilitation Unit, Trade and Investment Division, ESCAP, and Mr. Azapmo National Trade Adviser, FSM Department of Resources and Development.

The needs assessment exercise was conducted and facilitated by Dr. Saeed and Dr. Hoffman, whilst the categorization and roadmap were prepared by Mr. Azapmo. The preliminary findings indicated that there were 10 Category B measures common to the FSM, RMI, and Palau which were partially implemented and thus required improvements. In addition, the findings revealed that the FSM, RMI, and Palau were non compliant with respect to four Category C measures: creation of enquiry points, establishment of trade facilitation for authorized operators, movements of goods intended for import under custom control, and creation of a single window.

Frank exchanges of information, discussions, and interactive group work sessions involving private sector representatives and government officials attending the Workshop contributed to enhance Public-Private Sector dialogue on the various topics. This led to the designation of champions among private sector representatives and government officials to lead the implementation of priority activities identified in the Trade and Investment Facilitation Roadmap developed by participants. The Roadmap was adopted by MTEC Ministers during their 7th Meeting on July 13, 2015 and subsequently endorsed by the 15th Micronesian Presidents’ Summit on July 15, 2015.

Although the FSM, RMI, and Palau are not yet WTO Members, they see the importance of trade and investment facilitation which will contribute toward enhancing trade and investment flows between the three Countries, thus increasing regional integration and fostering their integration into the world economy. The MTEC was established in 2014 through a Treaty, which envisions the creation of a community of shared prosperity 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 facilitate their integration into the global economy.

The fruitful collaboration between the MTEC Interim Secretariat, Commonwealth Secretariat Hub & Spokes II Programme and ITC, which led to the successful conduct of this Workshop, is expected to strengthen during the implementation of the priority activities identified in the MTEC trade and investment facilitation Roadmap, which was adopted by MTEC Ministers during their 7th Meeting on July 13, 2015 and subsequently endorsed by the 15th Micronesian President Summit on July 15, 2015 in Majuro. The next immediate step will be to organize national consultations to validate the findings of the preliminary assessment undertaken during the Workshop.

For more information, please contact: MTEC Interim Secretariat/FSM Department of Resources and Development; telephone (691) 320-2646/5133; fax: (691) 320-5854; e-mail: mtcinterimsecretariat@fsmrd.fm.

 

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Special Pacific ACP Trade and Fisheries Ministers’ Meeting in Suva, Fiji

Secretary Marion Henry leads the FSM to the Special Pacific ACP Trade and Fisheries Ministers’ Meeting in Suva, Fiji

Suva, Fiji, July 16, 2015

Secretary Marion Henry took part in the Special Pacific ACP (PACP) Trade and Fisheries Ministers’ Meeting (PACPTFMM) in Suva, Fiji on 16 July 2015. The Special PACP Meeting focused mainly on devising a regional position to respond to the EC’s Trade Commissioner proposing the suspension of EPA negotiations to allow the review of conservation and management measures of fisheries resources. PACP Ministers acknowledged the complexity and difficulties of the fisheries issues as it relates to the Vessel Day Scheme developed by the Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA), they agreed to continue negotiating the EPA as a single region and to engage a political dialogue with the EC with a view to finding a mutually acceptable resolution of the fisheries issues as well as the remaining contentious issues. The Decisions reached by PACP Trade and Fisheries’ Ministers will be considered by Pacific Leaders during their Meeting tentatively scheduled for September 8, 2015, in PNG.

The Meeting, Chaired by the Hon. Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, Acting Prime Minister, Attorney General and Minister of Finance, Public Service, Public Enterprises and Communications of Fiji, was attended by the Deputy Prime Ministers of Samoa and Vanuatu, and Ministers from the Cook Islands, Fiji, Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Nauru, Niue, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu. Also in attendance were the Director of the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) and representatives from the Oceania Customs Organization (OCO) Secretariat, Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNAO) Office, Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS) and the Pacific Islands Private Sector Organization (PIPSO). Accompanying Secretary Henry to the Special PACP Ministers’ Meeting were Mr. Eugene Pangelinan, Acting Executive Director, NORMA, Ms. Camille Movick-Inatio, Assistant Secretary for Trade and Investment, and Mr. Jean Bertrand Azapmo, National Trade Adviser.

For more information, please contact: MTEC Interim Secretariat/FSM Department of Resources and Development; telephone (691) 320-2646/5133; fax: (691) 320-5854; e-mail: mtcinterimsecretariat@fsmrd.fm.

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The 2015 FSM Investment Guide completed and ready to be launched

Press Release #1506-01
Palikir, Pohnpei – FSM Information Services
June 08, 2015

(Palikir, FSM Department of Resources and Development)

After one year of national and state consultations, the Division of Trade and Investment has recently completed the publication of the 2015 FSM Investment Guide, a promotion and marketing document that aims at providing useful information on investing in the FSM and guiding any potential local or foreign investor in setting up a business in the FSM.

The Investment Guide was designed and printed in Guam and delivered to the FSM Consulate General in Guam on May 27, 2015. In the welcome message, Secretary Marion Henry of the FSM Department of R&D highlighted the distinctive features of the 2015 edition of the FSM Investment Guide, which comes nearly 10 years after the last investment guide was published. In effect, unlike the 2006 edition, the 2015 FSM Investment Guide goes beyond the traditional sections on basic information about the FSM and the business enabling environment by providing updated detailed information on the main investment opportunities in the FSM, including tuna processing; fishing vessels and fishing nets repair and maintenance; tourism development around historic and archaeologic sites; protected areas and water-based sport activities; production of poultry products and drinking water; production of exotic agriculture products and small scale agro-processing; international transportation; and production of renewable energy, to name just a few. In addition, the guide offers a snapshot of fiscal and non-fiscal incentives available to investors, all the relevant information on starting a business in the FSM, with detailed information on the steps and competent agencies, and a list of useful addresses to make the entire process business friendly than ever.

With the publication of the 2015 FSM Investment Guide, the FSM Department of R&D has now fully implemented one of the key recommendations arising from the Symposium on Investment Facilitation in the FSM held in May 2013 in Palikir, which recommended, among other things, that information on investment opportunities, procedures and steps to investing in the FSM, and relevant agencies involved in the process should be collated and published in an investment guide and be made available on a website. The date, time, and venue of the launching of the long-awaited document are being finalized by the FSM Department of R&D.

“This is the very first professional investment guide that the FSM has produced and it is a reflection of the new pro-active approach that we want to take with respect to promoting investments into the FSM as part of the government overall strategy as the Nation gears up towards 2023; there is more coming up”, says Secretary Henry. Following the launching of the 2015 FSM Investment Guide, the FSM Department of R&D will turn to other key projects and reforms needed to further improving the business enabling environment in the FSM, including the “big elephant in the house.” On top of the list is the drafting of proposed amendments to foreign investment laws and regulations as well as policies to further enhance transparency, harmonize, and streamline the processes (the first round of consultations for this project was conducted last march and April 2015 with the technical assistance of the World Bank-IFC), followed by the establishment of an investment promotion agency at the national level. In parallel to those two major projects, the FSM Department of R&D will continue to build and strengthen the capacity of producers, produce and disseminate a guide to assist producers to export to regional and international markets, and finalize the translation of key sections of the 2015 Investment Guide into the Japanese and Chinese languages.

The publication of the 2015 FSM Investment Guide is a joint effort of the National and State Governments with the support of several stakeholders and development partners. In this regard, Secretary Marion Henry observed that “the collaborative efforts of national and state agencies as well as the private sector was critical and facilitated the realization of this important document, considering that it cuts across all sectors of the FSM society. The FSM Department of R&D could not have accomplished it alone”. Secretary Henry also highlighted the critical role of the technical assistance received from the Commonwealth Secretariat-EU funded Hub & Spokes Programme II through the advisory services of the National Trade Adviser; as well as the valuable inputs provided by other technical agencies and development partners, including the Pacific Trade & Investment network and the US Embassy to the FSM.

For more information, please contact: FSM Investment Unit, Division of Trade and Investment, FSM Department of Resources and Development; telephone (691) 320-2646/5133; fax: (691) 320-5854; e-mail: fsmrd@fsmrd.fm. You can also visit our website http://www.fsmrd.fm for more information.

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The Department of Resource and Development to represent the FSM at the Second Meeting of the Working Group on formation of an integrated market in Asia and the Pacific in Bangkok on March 26-27, 2015

Palikir, Pohnpei, Division of Trade and Investment, Department of R&D: March 25, 2015.

The Second Meeting of the Working Group on formation of an integrated market in Asia and the Pacific will take place on March 26-27, 2015 at the United Nations Conference Centre, Bangkok to review and further discuss the diagnosis, findings, and concrete recommendations to improve the current level and quality of market integration in Asia and the Pacific. It is anticipated that the Second Meeting will focus particularly on a number of key issues identified during the First Meeting, including options for an Asian-Pacific agreement, the four markets to be integrated (goods, services, labor, and investment), elements for facilitating market integration in Asia-Pacific (e.g. regional tourism as vehicle for integration and regional education as portals for labor integration), the policy directions for reducing each of the market gaps identified, including direct and indirect policies for consideration by the countries, sub-regional groupings such as the Micronesian Trade and Economic Community (MTEC). The three other Working Groups established under the Bangkok Declaration on Regional Economic Cooperation and Integration, which will also hold their Meetings are connectivity, financial cooperation, and cooperation to address shared vulnerabilities. The final report of the Working Groups will serve as inputs to the Second Regional Economic Cooperation and Integration Ministerial Conference at the end of 2015.

The FSM’s involvement in this Working Group is primarily justified by its role as the MTEC Interim Secretariat, which is recognized under the Bangkok Declaration as a one of the sub-regional groupings that contributes to the goal of broader integration of Asia and the Pacific. It is anticipated that through this engagement, the MTEC would raise awareness on its existence, programs and activities, and secure the partnerships that are needed to implement those and achieve its goals and vision. The vision of the MTEC is to establish a community of shared prosperity 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. The MTEC is considered as a stepping stone toward greater integration of its Members into the global economy. In this regard, the MTEC envisions expanding its membership to other Micronesian Countries (Kiribati and Nauru) and Territories (Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI)). The FSM Department of Resources and Development is represented in the Working Group on Formation of an Integrated Market in Asia and the Pacific by Mr. Jean Bertrand Azapmo, National Trade Adviser, who will be attending the Meeting.

For more information on the Second Meeting of the Working Group on formation of an integrated market in Asia and the Pacific, please contact the Interim Secretariat (FSM Department of Resources and Development), at telephone number (691) 320-5133.

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The ITC and UNCTAD to Assist Members of the MTEC

The International Trade Centre and UNCTAD to assist Members of the Micronesian Trade and Economic Community (MTEC) to assess their trade and investment facilitation conditions and needs with a view to enhance their export competitiveness and investment attractiveness

Palikir, Pohnpei, MTEC Interim Secretariat: March 25, 2015.

In response to a technical assistance request submitted by the MTEC Interim Secretariat to assist MTEC Member States to conduct an assessment of their trade and investment facilitation regulatory and policy framework, ITC Executive Director Ms. Arancha Gonzalez wrote to Secretary Marion Henry on March 16, 2015 in his capacity as the Interim Secretariat for the MTEC informing him that ITC has acceded the request for technical assistance. Ms. Gonzalez confirmed the ITC through its section on trade facilitation for business has the necessary expertise to assist the three Countries (FSM, RMI, and Palau) to conduct an assessment of their trade policy/regulatory framework for export competitiveness and investment attractiveness. In acknowledging ITC’s positive response, the Honorable Marion Henry, Secretary of the FSM Department of R&D/MTEC Interim Secretariat, expressed MTEC Member Countries’ appreciation and pledged the full collaboration of the MTEC Interim Secretariat and support to work with ITC to achieve the intended outcomes of the assessment.

This Project will include a number of deliverables and outputs such as advisory services, public private dialogue sessions on trade and investment facilitation, and capacity building of policy makers/private sectors so as to ensure coherence in the reform process. Other key partners in this exercise include the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, which will be assessing shipping connectivity in the Micronesian region and its impact on trade and investment facilitation. The assessment of MTEC trade and investment facilitation needs and conditions is identified under the 2015-2019 MTEC Work Program, as one of the top priorities to facilitate the establishing of rules, institutions, and infrastructure to facilitate trade and investment between the Micronesian Countries and between the Micronesian Region and the rest of the world.

ITC and the MTEC Interim Secretariat supported by the Hub & Spokes II Programme under the Commonwealth Secretariat will start working on the details to undertake this very important exercise, which is scheduled to take place in July 2015.

For more information on the assessment of MTEC Member States trade and investment facilitation conditions and needs, please contact the Interim Secretariat (FSM Department of Resources and Development), at telephone number (691) 320-5133.

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The Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and the Republic of Palau Sign a Landmark Establishing the Micronesian Trade and Economic Community (MTEC)

Apia, Samoa (MTC Interim Secretary: September 3, 2014).

 

On September 3, 2014, the Presidents Emmanuel Mori of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), Christopher Loeak of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and Tommy Remengesau Jr. of the Republic of Palau, officially formalized their historical trade and economic bonds by signing the Treaty establishing the Micronesian Trade and Economic Community. The signing took place in the margins of the 3rd International Conference on Small Island Developing States, during a consultative breakfast Meeting between Pacific Islands Countries’ Leaders and Dr. Shamshad Akhtar, Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and Executive Secretary of ESCAP.

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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 following the signing, the three Presidents emphasized the historical importance of the signing event. H.E. Emanuel Mori, President of the Federated States of Micronesia, underscored the significance of the Treaty and characterized it as 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. Furthermore, President Mori noted that there were provisions in the Treaty allowing the sisters Republics of Kiribati, Nauru, and the Territories of Guam and Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands to join at a later stage.

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H.E. Christopher J. Loeak, President of the Republic of the Marshall Islands noted that “the signing occasion 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.”

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Taking the example of the copra industry, which collapsed in Palau 20 years ago, H.E. Tommy Remengesau 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.

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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, Ms. 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.

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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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For more information on the signing of the treaty establishing the Micronesian Trade and Economic Community, please contact the Interim Secretariat (FSM Department of Resources and Development), at telephone number (691) 320-5133.

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