Solomon Islands Trade Policy Framework Launched
The Government has launched the Solomon Islands first ever Trade Policy Framework in Honiara Wednesday last week.
The launching was jointly made by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and External Trade Milner Tozaka and the visiting
Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat Secretary General Dame Meg Taylor.
The Framework sets out the main principles that guide trade policy in Solomon Islands over the coming years. The
National Trade Development Council which is the primary advisory and decision-making body on trade matters formally
endorsed the framework in February this year.
Minister Tozaka said trade has helped country overcome inherent vulnerabilities and opened up new possibilities in view
of the isolation and smallness of Solomon Islands as a country.
“It has contributed to our economic development and provided us the opportunity to enjoy access to goods and services
that we neither produce nor provide locally,” he said.The Minister said the key to increasing the benefits from trade is
to increase the country’s capacity to produce higher value goods. “While we aspire to gain greater access to foreign
markets, we face serious challenges in growing viable export industries and adding value to our abundant natural
resources. Implementing and building on the recommendations contained in our Trade Policy Framework will cultivate a
dynamic and diverse productive sector which will enable us to truly take advantage of multilateral and regional trading
arrangements,” he said.
Minister Tozaka also highlighted that the framework has the potential to increase the potential of labour mobility to
benefit Solomon Islands.He said expanding and targeting opportunities for gainful employment within the region will help
us confront demographic and economic challenges including the high level of youth unemployment. “Workers abroad remit
earnings, invest in commerce and education, and return with valuable skills, as well as contributing to their host
economies,” he said. As has been the case for many of our Pacific neighbours, increased labour mobility will empower
Solomon Islanders to reach their full potential while contributing to vast improvements in living standards and economic
Secretary General Taylor said this framework seeks to mainstream trade into the national development strategy. “Such
integrated engagement will assist in the medium to long-term performance of the Solomon Islands economy, and establish a
policy platform that builds upon and coordinates sectoral priorities,” The Trade Policy Framework was drafted by the
Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Trade over the past two years with support from the Pacific Islands Forum
Secretariat. It builds on contributions from stakeholders across Solomon Islands including workshops in Honiara, Auki,
Gizo, Noro, Buala and Lata. The National Trade Development Council, chaired by Minister Tozaka is now preparing to
implement the recommendations of the framework.