The Solomon Islands Integrated Framework DTIS Validation two-day workshop which starts today in Honiara was highlighted as a milestone event of the Integrated Framework process in Solomon Islands.

Speaking at the official opening of the workshop, Minister of Foreign Affairs and External Trade, William Haomae, said the integrated process, particularly in the Diagnostic Trade Integration Study [DTIS], reflects the spirit of partnership that exists amongst institutions.

He explained that DTIS is a detailed analysis of the country's economy and the challenges it faces in trading internationally.

The DTS featured ten chapters and "these chapters links the sectors in discussion with the focus on trade and trade related activities in Solomon Islands."

He said that Solomon Islands Government attaches high priority to the Integrated Framework Process and is committed to is implementation, recognizing the invaluable contributions and impacts that the project will have on the development plan and towards better coordination of donor activities to support the process and plan.

Mr. Haomae added that within the institutions of the Government and other stakeholders, trade policy needs to be perceived in a more comprehensive and holistic manner, which extends beyond the portfolios of the Department of External Trade of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Trade.

"It is very important for the Government to ensure that trade policy should not be developed in isolation from the overall policy directives and involve as many stakeholders for functional and sectoral ministries, to private sectors in discussion with the focus on trade and trade related activities in Solomon Islands."

Mr. Haomae added that the aim of the workshop was to review and analyze Solomon Islands economy and export performances, assess the macroeconomic environment and the country's investment climate, assess the international trade policy environment and the specific constraints the country's exports face in international markets.

He said that it was also to analyze key labour-intensive sectors for expansion of output, exports and employment, and assess the poverty and pro-poor strategies that can be adopted to ensure equitable outcomes for men and women, in both rural and urban settings.

Mr. Haomae revealed that special attention is given to the country's most important export industries such as forestry and logging, fishing, cocoa and copra production focusing on down stream processing.

"The study has examined the potential for growth in industries such as tourism and handicrafts, in Solomon Islands in which [the country] currently does not meet its potential but ... could have a real impact in improving the income of rural communities."

Mr. Haomae stressed that the outcome of the process will be the achievement of a coherent and appropriately resourced approach to trade policy development and implementation in the country.

Mr. Haomae said that DTIS, resourced by the Solomon Islands Government with the support of donors, and the successful implementation of the DTIS Action Matrix, will require the unconditional cooperation of all key ministries and all stakeholders including members of Solomon Islands development partners and donors.

He highlighted that CNURA Government Rural Advancement policy, with a focus on rural development, believes that the right trade policy looks into creating and enhancing the value of resources owned by the rural people, and the building of their capacity to transform these resources into marketable products and services that is sensitive to domestic and overseas markets demand.

"Such a policy will be a key tool for economic and social empowerment, meaningful and beneficial participation in global trade and consequently in poverty alleviation," said Mr. Haomae.

Mr. Haomae also urged participants from different stakeholders to participate constructively with diligence in the activities of the workshop.

"Your continuous and active participation in this consultation process will certainly persuades as we map out the future directions for effective implementation of the DTIS recommendation."

The Integrated Framework National Validation Workshop will end tomorrow.