Trade and investment will soon be the focus of interaction between Solomon Islands and the Autonomous region of Bougainville, along the Papua New Guinea-Solomon Islands common border.
With close traditional, cultural and blood ties between people from both sides of the border, the two parties agreed to hold further talks in consultation with the Papua New Guinea Government to regulate trade, deepen economic integration and foster mutually beneficial economic links between their respective private sectors.
Work to realize this ambition begun this week as President of the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG), Hon. Ishmael Toroama led his Trade and Investment delegation to Honiara, Solomon Islands.
The visit of His Excellency, President Toroama was done in conformity with the Framework Treaty Guiding Relations between Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea 1986; the Treaty concerning the Sovereignty, Maritime, Seabed Boundaries and Cooperation 1989; the Melanesian Trade Agreement 2005; and more recently the Framework Agreement on Development and Economic Cooperation between Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea 2020.
Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Trade, Colin Beck said the discussions launches a path to formalize informal trade happening along the border.
“We are going into the next step of talking with our people along the border for them to take advantage and embrace the trade link.
“Certainly, we will keep working with all our stakeholders on this,” he remarked.
Attorney General of the Autonomous Bougainville Government, Hon. Ezekiel Massat stated that with the given the cultural and traditional ties with the Solomon Islands, it is only right they seek opportunities this way.
Mr. Massat called for further dialogue on the proposed way forward and look to receiving the Solomon Islands delegation on Bougainville in the near future.
The two parties said they remain committed to facilitate, enhance, and regulate Trade and Investment between Solomon Islands and the Autonomous Region of Bougainville of Papua New Guinea.
Signing of a record of discussion was witnessed by Papua New Guinea High Commissioner His Excellency Moses Kaul at the Papua New Guinea High Commission in Honiara on 29th November 2022.
Source: MFAET Press Release