China, Solomon Islands’ largest trading partner: Manele


Prime Minister Jeremiah Manele has said China is Solomon Islands’ largest trading partner.

The Government for National Unity and Transformation (GNUT) leader made the statement during his first keynote address at this year’s 46th Independence anniversary in Honiara.

He said that the GNUT Government is already collaborating with the private sector and smallholder farms during the first hundred days.

“We have made great steps in progressing market access opportunities with the People’s Republic of China with exports already possible for several products including noni juice, roasted Cocoa, other value-added chocolate products, roasted coffee, and sawn timber.

“As it is with most countries in the Asia-Pacific region, China is our largest trading partner,” he said.

He said that the GNUT is expanding these products and has in the past week finalized tax-based discussions on product-specific sanitary and phytosanitary protocols.

“That will pay the way for exports of any aquatic products captured in the wild or cultured aquatics such as seaweed and roasted cocoa and coffee beans and spices such as turmeric, ginger, and chili,” said Manele.

“This afternoon (Monday 8th July) I will be leading a high-level delegation to China accompanied by several ministers. 

“We hope to finalise and sign the Memorandums of Understanding during this visit to enable the Solomon Islands to trade directly with China on these four additional product categories. We will continue to expand the commodities that we will export to China,” said the PM.

He stated that the GNUT hopes that farmers in rural areas can earn money by exporting these products to China.

He stressed that the government is trying to expand our economic base to involve the agriculture and fisheries sectors in international trade.

“Trade and investment are a vehicle to reinvigorate growth, inspire diversification of opportunities, and catalyze partnerships with the private sector.

“Our government’s policy of friends to all and enemy to none paves the way to tackle and enhance productive capacity and trade to achieve our development aims,” he said.

He said that the Government has started work on the country’s first-ever national export policy that will enable the Solomon Islands to export commodities in this evolving global economic environment and set a path towards diversification and a subsequent industrialisation policy.

“The institutional and policy guidelines will guide policymakers to enhance the role of trade as a key driver to economic growth and to raise the level of human development and improve living standards for Solomon Islanders.

“As you will all know, our narrow economic base is very vulnerable to external economic shocks.

“Therefore, this government is trying to broaden our economic base,” he said.

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