Kiribati Trade delegation, government officials and representatives from private sector pose for a group photo after the meeting

Monday 31st July, Honiara - The Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce (SICCI) and PHAMA Plus, on the 26th of July 2023 co-hosted- and organized a dialogue between the visiting Kiribati Trade Delegation with Members from the Private Sector. The Kiribati Delegation consisted of representatives from Kiribati Chamber of Commerce (KCCI) and Industry, and Government Officials (Biosecurity, Agriculture and Commerce). In attendance from Solomon Islands was the PS for the Ministry of Forestry and Acting PS for MAL, Biosecurity Director and staff, SICCI Members (shipping, manufacturing, agribusiness and SMEs), PHAMA Plus and SICCI.

The dialogue served two purposes, firstly to inform the Private Sector on the trade between Kiribati and Solomon Islands on the import protocols for Kiribati. Finally, gather information from the Private Sector on their view on this proposed trade, challenges and possible solutions that may contribute its sustainability.

One of the outcomes of the Kiribati Trade delegation’s trip to SI is the formalization of the import protocol for frozen tubers between Kiribati and Solomon Islands. This import protocol outlines the specific step-by-step process, rules, regulations, and paperwork that Kiribati established to govern the importation of frozen tubers from Solomon Islands - to ensure the safety, quality, and compliance of these commodities being traded across international borders.

The Kiribati government developed the import protocols for frozen tubers in consultation with the Biosecurity Solomon Islands (Solomon Islands Government) However, it was during the Kiribati Delegation’s trip to SI that the details of the import protocols for frozen tubers from Solomon Islands were finalized, agreed to and approved by the two governments. This confirms that Kiribati importers can now formally import frozen tubers from Solomon Islands.

The Delegation expressed their gratitude on how blessed Solomon Islands is with its abundant resources that Kiribati is interested in for trading. Kiribati Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI), Director, Mr Teriba Tabe, highlighted on the important key role that Private Sector plays in the economic growth of a country which is visible in developed countries globally such that of Singapore.

It was a privilege also for SICCI to dialogue with Mr. Teriba Tabe, Director of the KCCI, to begin to establish relationship between the two Chambers to support the trade between Kiribati and Solomon Islands.

SICCI members

Acting Chief Executive Officer of SICCI, Ms. Auma stated that the Dialogue had provided a platform for business interested or are already in trading to dialogue directly with the delegation of Kiribati. It can be seen from the dialogue that businesses are keen to engage in this trade however, the issue that is most highlighted in this meeting is logistics. For a Locally owned shipping operator, to engage in this trade, it must be assured somehow that on its return to Solomon Islands it will be economically viable as compared it exporting.

Even though challenges are identified to this trade it is important that this market access for business and SI as a whole be supported by both countries through its private sector chambers, SICCI and KCCI. We are grateful and welcome the initiative taken by the Private Sector and Government of Kiribati in providing us this important avenue to increase and enhance trading in the Pacific Region,” she says.

Pacific Horticultural and Agricultural Market Access Plus Program Country Manager, Ms. Samantha Maeke stated that, trade remains an important factor in improving economic integration across the Pacific and fostering greater bonds through people-to-people links and information sharing is paramount. The Kiribati trade mission to Solomon Islands will lay the groundwork with ambition to roll out a formal, safe and sustainable trade between the two countries. Most importantly, most of these success stories are a result of strong collaborations between the private sector, the government, communities and all who have a role to play in the trade story.

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