BY BEN BILUA
PACIFIC Trade Ministers have noted that there is a need for a comprehensive assessment on the existing labour mobility arrangements in the region.
A Labour Mobility Reference Group has been engaged to guide the process.
“We had robust discussions on the existing labour mobility arrangements and whether there was a need for a larger transparent and an inclusive dialogue on this matter.
“We also agreed that we will await the conclusion of the ongoing comprehensive assessment of the labour mobility arrangements and then reconsider the issue of a larger and more inclusive platform for dialogue on labour mobility,” Faiyaz Koya – Chair of the Forum Trade Ministers’ meeting and Fiji’s Minister for Commerce, Trade, Tourism and Transport said.
He said the Ministers emphasized the importance of implementing existing regional agreements to promote and strengthen trade between member states and address existing barriers shared among countries.
Koya adds that the Ministers agreed that there is a need to modernise the existing Pacific Island Countries Trade Agreement if the region was to realise the full potential of the agreement.
“With respect to trade and health, the Ministers reaffirm that the health and well-being of Pacific people remains their highest collective priority,” he said.
Koya said the comprehensive assessment will also identify opportunities that may exist beyond pacific islands traditional trading partners that may align with primary exports from the region and at the same time take stock of the opportunities and challenges facing members in the implementation of trade agreements.
The assessment is a good news to Solomon Islands trade activities which has been fallen over the past five months.
According to Central Bank of Solomon Islands, the external trade deficit widened in the first five months up to May 2021, with a 15% fall in exports while imports dropped by 10%.
The report states that most export commodities, in particular round logs slowed down as expected. Weaker domestic demand also had a negative impact on import consumption.