Six Solomon Islands businesses and the Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SICCI) travelled to the United States this month, for a market linkages and business networking study tour.
The study tour, organized by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) through its Strengthening Competitiveness, Agriculture, Livelihoods, and Environment – Trade and Investment (SCALE–T&I) project, showcased the comparative advantage of Solomon Islands agricultural products and facilitate linkages and market opportunities for local businesses.
U.S Embassy Chargé d'Affaires Russell Comeau hosted a formal send off for the delegation, initiating their journey with a pre-departure briefing.
Addressing the gathered business representatives, CDA Comeau said, “We hope this exposure to the United States will be a vital step forward for you to grow your business, for SICCI to expand its network, and for our countries to achieve our shared vision of a free and open Pacific that is more connected, prosperous, secure, and resilient.”
The Solomon Islands businesses—who responded to an open application circulated by SICCI and were competitively selected based on their export readiness and their products’ potential appeal to US buyers—will visit Los Angeles, California for business-to-business (B2B) meetings and guided retail tours to learn more about current trends and best practices in the United States and market their products.
The businesses will also participate in the SupplySide West trade show in Las Vegas, Nevada, where more than 18,000 food industry buyers, suppliers, and business service providers meet annually to seek new business and market opportunities.
The U.S. study tour is the latest in a series of joint USAID-SICCI activities guided by the two parties’ mutual commitment to facilitate trade and investment, as formalized in a Memorandum of Understanding signed in June 2023.
From October 2022-June 2023, USAID and SICCI co-hosted a series of five two-day export promotion trainings for more than 50 SICCI members seeking new markets for a range of products including kava, cocoa, and coconut oil.
USAID and SICCI have also collaborated to pinpoint key priority export markets and develop end market-specific guides (Australia, New Zealand, US) to encourage business linkages.
SICCI Chairperson, Ms. Qila Tuhanuku, shared her view on the potential outcomes of the study tour, stating, “It is critical that Solomon Islands businesses that are exporting into the international markets have first-hand experience and exposure to those markets; it is important for product development and developing their sales capabilities for those markets. So, we hope the successful members who are going on this study tour gain market insights of the U.S. market.”
After the study tour, USAID and SICCI will continue their collaboration to expand market access for Solomon Islands exporters.
In November 2023, USAID and SICCI will host a hybrid matchmaking event for Solomon Islands businesses to meet potential buyers from Australia, New Zealand, and the United States.
Source: Press Release, SICCI