A team from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Trade and the Ministry of Commerce, Industries, Labour and Immigration met with the Premier of Choiseul Province yesterday as part of their trade assessment visit to border communities in the Western and Choiseul Provinces.

The team met Premier, Harrison Pitakaka and Provincial Secretary, Jeoffrey Pakipota to explain the purpose of the trade assessment visit to Choiseul, Shortland and in appreciating the ongoing movement of goods with neighbouring Bougainville on Papua New Guinea.

The trade team discussed activities that will be carried out in the next one week including consultation with business houses and private sectors in Choiseul Province and Shortland Islands.

Consultations will also be held with key government border agencies including, Bio-security, Immigration, Customs, Environment and Fisheries.

Among the aims of the assessment is to identify key market access area of trade between Choiseul and Bougainville and key commodities traded between Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea via the traditional trade route between Bougainville, Choiseul and Shortland.

It will also aim to identify infrastructures that can facilitate trade activities, should it be formalized and regulated in the near future, and further appreciate traditional trading activities happening in this locality.

In response, Premier Pitakaka acknowledge the team for coming to discuss a very important issue that has been discussed for a very long time.

The Premier also acknowledge the importance of formalizing trade at the border as it is one of the key priorities’ areas of his government, whilst emphasizing the importance in nurturing traditional practices.

Discussions had been long time coming and the Premier wants to see this very important discussion on trade with Papua New Guinea is pushed forward and prioritized by the new government.

The Premier thanked the team for pushing this assessment forward and hopes the province will benefit from it when trade is formalized in the near future.

Representing the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Trade (MFAET) on the trade assessment visit is the Chief Trade Officer, Nigel Devi and Senior Trade Officer, Burns Waroka. The Ministry of Commerce, Industries, Labour and Immigration is being represented by the Deputy Director for Marketing and Export Promotion of Ministry of Commerce, Industries Labour and immigration, Mrs Donnalee Vozoto.


Source: Press Release, MFAET