Government of the Federated States of Micronesia

4th National Trade Facilitation Committee (NTFC) Meeting adopted the FSM Implementation Matrix of the FSM Trade Policy and other important trade-related decisions.

Palikir, Pohnpei (FSM Information Services): April 28, 2011 - The Fourth Meeting of the NTFC which was held at the Central Facilities, Palikir, Pohnpei, on 20 & 21 April 2011 ended with a main decision, the adoption of the Implementation Matrix of the FSM Trade Policy. In addition to the adoption of the Implementation Matrix, the NTFC also decided that a share of the Private Sector Development (PSD) Grant will be used to fund the Implementation Matrix, and that FSM should work with the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS) on the modalities for a donor conference to source additional funding that will be necessary to carry out the actions prioritized.

Other important issues highlighted by the Chairman of the NTFC, the Honorable Vice President Alik Alik, in his opening remarks and considered by the Fourth NTFC include: the continuation of FSM foreign investment regime's reform with the view to enhance FSM's ranking under the World Bank Ease of Doing Business Index, the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) negotiations with the European Union, and private sector development. Participants also discussed the FSM's trade negotiations agenda with a focus on outstanding issues in the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), the Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations (PACER)-Plus between FICs and Australia and New Zealand, Pacific Island Countries Trade Agreement (PICTA) on trade in services, and the Micronesian Trade Committee (MTC) between the Freely Associated States (FAS).

Considering the issues at stake in the EPA negotiations and the importance of fresh and frozen fish for the FSM industry, the NTFC directed the Sub-committee on fisheries to consider the contentious issues in the fisheries Chapter and to formulate a clear negotiating position on fisheries issues. Also the Subcommittee on Market Access was tasked to review the key remaining contentious issues in the EPA legal text with the view to formulate FSM's position. The Meeting also agreed that in order to ease the access of FSM's fisheries products into the EU market, the FSM Department of Health and Social Services and the Department of Justice should prioritize the drafting of appropriate legislation to facilitate the establishment of the Competent Authority for food safety and standards.

Another decision made by the NTFC is the mandate given to the FSM R&D to work with State Agencies to determine the modalities for a third investment symposium, which will bring together all relevant stakeholders sometime this year. The objective of this symposium will be to to further improve the business enabling environment in the FSM, building on discussions and recommendations of the two 2009 investment symposiums. Similarly, participants also agreed that FSM's traditional knowledge and genetic resources should be protected and that FSM R&D and the Department of Justice should prioritize the development of an appropriate Intellectual Property Rights regime to this effect

The Fourth NTFC Meeting was chaired by Secretary Francis Itimai of the Department of Transportation, Communication and Infrastructure. The Meeting was attended by Members of the Cabinet (Dr. Vita Akapito Skilling Secretary of the Department of Health and Social Affairs, Marion Henry, Secretary of the Department of Resources and Development and Francis Itimai, Secretary of the Department of Transportation, Communication and Infrastructure), representatives from the State and National Governments, Private Sector, NGOs, and other supporting staff from the National Government.

The Meeting benefited from the technical assistance of the PIFS and the Hub & Spokes project under the Commonwealth Secretariat.

For more information, please contact the Department of Resources and Development at telephone number (691) 320-5133.

For further information on this release, please contact:

FSM Office of the President
Public Information: Press, Radio, Video
P.O Box 34
Palikir Station, Pohnpei, FM 96941
Tel.: (691) 320-2548/2092
Fax.: (691) 320-4356