HERALD WEEKLY ISSUE 608: 21 March 2012

3 Strategic cooperation documents signed
Following Cabinet on Tuesday, Minister for Marine Resources (MMR), Tourism, Pearl Authority and Education, Hon Teina Bishop held a media conference during which he presented the media with copies of three MOUs (Memorandums of Understanding) signed between the Minister representing government and;
(1)Shanghai Ocean University, China
(2) Shanghai Ocean University and China Southern Fishery (Shenzhen) Co., Ltd
(3)The Government of the Republic of Fiji (Host country).
The MOU with Shanghai Ocean University was signed on 13 September 2012 and undertakes to foster the following general forms of cooperation; joint research activities, share of research resources, exchange of faculty members, exchange of students, observer programme, joint educational programmes for undergraduates and postgraduates, participation in seminars and academic meetings and short term language and cultural experiences.
The University has 12,000 undergraduate students and 1,200 postgraduate students, a staff of 1,100 with 800 teachers and scientific researchers.
China Southern Fishery (Shenzhen) Co., Ltd has 15 ocean going fishing vessels, of which 9 are newly built norm-temperature tuna long line fishing boats. The company operates in the waters of the Cook Islands, Fiji, Solomons, Vanuatu, Marshall Islands and FSM.
Now, under the arrangement of China Overseas Fishery Association, the company is establishing overseas fishery bases in the Cook Islands and Fiji.
The MOU with China Southern Fishery (Shenzhen) Co., Ltd and Shanghai Ocean University, which is for strategic cooperation, was signed on 13 September 2012.
This second MOU has a three pronged aim which is;
(1)For the Chinese partners to assist the Cook islands to train technicians in pearl culture and improving the employment of it,
(2)For all parties to facilitate and promote the development and utilization of the marine fishery resources, develop marine fishing and processing, and
(3)For all parties to closely cooperate in aspects of research and development of fishing technology, application and industrialized production.
The period of cooperation is 5 years, from 1 January 2012 to December 31 2016.
Under the MOU, each of the three parties, our government, the University and the fishing company, agree to certain rights and obligations.
The University, for its part will provide training and technical assistance. It will work with government via provision of information, to apply to the China’s Ministry for Commerce to gain duty-free access to Chinese markets. It will market and sell pearl products from the Cook Islands.
If the Cook Islands can gain such market access, it will be an enormous and historic achievement.
For its part, the fishing company, China Southern Fishery (Shenzhen) Co., Ltd, undertakes to;
(1) provide vessels in compliance with government requirements, pay relevant fees and charges,
(2) establish fishery companies, rent existing fishing and supply facilities and make improvements to said companies,
(3) assist government to apply for aid funds for pearl projects, and
(4) assist to establish a pearl culture teaching and practice base and assist to develop the market in China for our pearl products.
For its part, our government;
(1) shall provide an existing pearl farm to facilitate teaching and practice,
(2) shall charge for aid funds or apply to China’s Ministry for Commerce for facilities required for the above pearl farm,
(3) shall apply to China’s Ministry for Commerce and provide all the necessary information and products for duty free access to the Chinese market,
(4) shall meet the costs and wages of technical staff from the University and the Cook Islands for work in relation the above pearl farm.
Under the MOU clause 5 on page 3, the obligations of our government towards the fishing company are spelt out.
Our government;
-shall support the fishing company to establish fishery companies in the Cook Islands,
-provide its existing fishery facilities to the fishing acompany for its use,
-arrange fishing licenses for the use of the fishing company for 20 vessels each year,
-shall enable the fishing company to have preferential access to fishing licenses,
-provide preferences to the fishing company in aspects including but not limited to, fishing fees, working area and fishable species, so as to make joint efforts to promote the development and utilization of the marine fishery resources of the Cook Islands.
The third MOU with Fiji is in relation to the Fiji Volunteer Service under which the Fijian government has agreed to assist in the spirit of friendship and developmental cooperation, it Pacific Island neighbours who wish to seek such assistance on a shared cost basis.
It was signed in Nadi, Fiji on 24 August 2012 by Minister Bishop and Fiji’s Minister for Foreign Affairs& International Cooperation, Ratu Inoke Kubuabola.
Minister Bishop explained that in Fiji, public servants retire at age 55yrs but still retain expertise in a wide variety of occupations/professions which in some instances may be helpful to the Cook Islands government.
The MOU enables our government to engage Fijians on a cost shared basis with the Fijian government.
The contact point is the Office of the Public Service Commission. -Charles Pitt

Herald Issue 608 21 March
- Terms of one China Policy document should be reviewed
- Pacific Media Assistance Scheme Seeks Innovation
- Successful NZ visit by PM
- Rerekura Teaurere New Climate Change Coordinator
- News Briefs

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