Tonga meet to deal with PICTA agreement legal requirements

Fakataha'i e ngaahi me'a fakalao fiema'u ki he aleapau PICTA kau ai mo hono fokotu'utu'u e fa'unga 'o e aleapau fefakatau'aki ko 'eni 'a ia kuo pehē 'e he pule'anga' 'e lelei lahi ki he fefakatau'aki 'a Tonga mo e ngaahi fonua Pasifiki tu'umālie ange' ko ha faingamālie ki hono langa e 'ekonomika 'a e fonua'

A government meeting will be held in Tonga to put things together for the Pacific Island Countries Trade Agreement known as PICTA, the Ministry of Labour and Commerce CEO Edgar Cocker said.

He is expected to meet with Ministry of Justice and the Crown Law Office to incorporate an edited version of a document sent from the Forum Secretariat regarding the agreement.

The meeting is set to discuss legal procedures before bills will be submitted to Cabinet and Parliament which Cocker has described as urgent (“as soon as possible.”)

A PICTA Implementation Committee which will include the Ministry of Customs and Revenue will be formed as part of the preparation process.

“I am expecting to do all of these required actions, and be completed by end of November 2018.” Cocker said.

As Kaniva news reported last week, Cocker was in Samoa to look at a government plan to build a Multipurpose Commercial Facility for accommodation, lodging, mini-conference, selling outlet for Tongan produce (handcrafts and watermelon)  and a small coffee shop on its land there and to discuss plans to export watermelons to the country.

“Tonga is ready to trade with Samoa under PICTA – and in particular with export of watermelon and other commodities to Samoa, and the US (Pagopago) and French Territories of New Caledonia, and French Polynesia,” he said.

“Once we are ready, comply, and agreed to all actions  required under PICTA framework, and with the mandate of our Implementation Committee, we will then work on submission of our Instrument of Acceptance to be accepted by all of the PICTA parties including Kiribati, through our official notification to the Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS).” Cocker said.

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