FSMRD (February 13, 2014): The 7th National Trade Facilitation Committee (NTFC) meeting, which was held on January 20-21, 2014, at the Tuna Commission Annex Building in Kolonia, Pohnpei, concluded on January 21 with several recommendations on enhancing production, export, and the investment climate in the FSM. Other decisions targeted trade and economic cooperation and integration between the FSM, the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) and the Republic of Palau, and ongoing negotiations for the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA).
On the implementation of the recommendations arising from the May 2013 FSM Investment Facilitation Symposium, the 7th NTFC Meeting noted the work undertaken by the FSM Department of R&D, including the meeting with the Chief Justices in the FSM on December 19, 2013, to sensitize them to areas where the judicial system has bearing on the enhancement of investor-protection in the FSM. The meeting also facilitated discussions on how the Judiciary and the Executive Branches could work together to implement specific recommendations resulting from the Symposium.
The NTFC recommended that the FSM Department of R&D pursue ongoing dialogue, and follow-up with various Technical Assistance Requests submitted to the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank to review and harmonize investment laws and undertake a survey of highly skilled FSM entrepreneurs residing overseas. In addition, the NTFC urged the National Government and Pohnpei State Government to examine all the options available to resolve the issue that led to the suspension of Pohnpei Small Business Development Centre’s activities, considering the role the Centre is expected to play in enhancing financial literacy within the private sector.
Progress with respect to the Draft FSM Investment Guide was highlighted, including consultations undertaken with the States and various national agencies. The NTFC recommended that the result of the SWOT analysis conducted by participants be used to update the Draft Investment Guide; and that the revised document is shared with States for comments by February 14, 2014. In order to ensure that all stakeholders are given the opportunity to comment on the investment guide, the NTFC urged States to convene a meeting of their respective State Trade Facilitation Committee to discuss the revised Draft FSM Investment Guide before submitting their comments to the FSM Department of R&D.
NTFC Meeting participants generally expressed positive feedbacks on the trade fairs initiated in all the States and recommended that training of producers be emphasized in 2014. The Meeting urged the FSM Department of R&D to work with States’ Export Hero Teams to collect and share success stories in business through various media. The NTFC also urged States’ Export Hero Teams to work with the State Trade Facilitation Committees to produce a comprehensive list of producers that can be used in identifying needs and providing support.
Participants to the 7th NTFC were also briefed on the legal framework to enhance trade and economic cooperation and integration among the FSM, RMI and Palau. It was recommended that further State-National consultation be undertaken immediately after a revised Draft Treaty with RMI and Palau is available.
Regarding the EPA negotiations, participants learned that the negotiations are contingent upon the need for the Pacific Region parties to be clear on the European Commission's position on key outstanding issues. The NTFC mandated the FSM Department of R&D to work with the relevant NTFC Subcommittee to finalize FSM’s negotiating positions, stressing the need for extreme cautions on fisheries issues.
The 7th NTFC Meeting was opened by FSM Vice President Alik L. Alik, Chairman of the NTFC. The deliberations were attended by Senator Jerry Fogolimul, Yap State Legislature, Dr. Rufino Mauricio, Secretary, FSM Department of Education, Mr. Lorin Robert, Secretary, Department of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Marion Henry, Secretary, Department of Resources and Development, Mr. Francis Itimai, Secretary, Department of Transportation, Communication and Infrastructure, Mr. Patrick Mackenzie, Executive Director, National Oceanic Resources Management Authority (NORMA), Mr. Wilson Waguk, Commissioner, FSM Banking Board, Mr. Moses Nelson, Executive Director, Micronesian Shipping Commission, Ms. Anna Mendiola, President/CEO of the FSM Development Bank, representatives from the State and National Governments, Private Sector and relevant Non Government Organizations (NGO).
For more information on the 7th NTFC Meeting, please contact the Department of Resources and Development at telephone number (691) 320-5133.