By EDDIE OSIFELO
MINISTER of Foreign Affairs and External Trade, Jeremiah Manele is pushing for Solomon Islands to delay graduation from the Least Developing Countries in 2024.
Manele did that at the World Trade Organization (WTO) Twelfth Ministerial Conference (MC12) in Geneva, Switzerland from 12-15 June.
Special Secretary to Prime Minister, Dr Jimmy Rodgers confirmed to media in a press conference on Wednesday the delay is because covid 19 has destroyed us in the last two year.
“We are not able to fulfil some of the requirements that we are able to fulfil before we graduate in 2024,” he said.
Manele also joined other Foreign ministers of other Pacific Island countries to present a collective case get exemptions in the international trade and WTO.
Rodgers said WTO is a rule based organization that determine trade rules.
“WTO renew trade rule and Minister is there so that Solomon Islands situation is on the map so the trade rules agreed on the global level, they conscious of our constraint and apply trade rules that apply to US and other countries.
“Basically the whole Pacific Islands are looking at Small Islands States kind of trade rules that exempted us as groups of small island countries,” he added.
Manele is expected to travel to Kigali, Rwanda for the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting which runs from 20-25 June.
Dr Rodgers said at the forum in CHOGM, Solomon Islands will use the platform to look at bilateral relations with some commonwealth countries like India for instance and other bigger commonwealth countries.
Furthermore, he said at the forum, there will be discussions on climate change, climate financing, Non Communicable Diseases, how to address trade in the Commonwealth.
Minister Manele will then travel to Lisbon, Portugal to attend the United Nation’s Ocean Conference from 27 June to 1 July.
Dr Rodgers said the Oceans conference is very important for Solomon Islands in two areas.
“In fisheries because right now fish is our biggest revenue earner right in the seas.
“But the revenue we get from fisheries is not as much as it could be,” he said.
Manele will complete his marathon visit abroad in Fiji for the Forum Ministers Meeting on 8th July.
This is in preparation for the Forum Leaders Meeting from 12-14 July.