The National Trade Development Council (NTDC) held its first meeting for 2017 on Wednesday 22nd at the Rock Haven Inn.
A government statement says, the NTDC, which meets on a quarterly basis, is a senior level forum for decision making and coordination of trade development policy in Solomon Islands including trade policy formulation and trade mainstreaming into national development plans.
“It also ensures effective coordination amongst government ministries, private sector and civil society organizations,” the statement adds.
It says, Cabinet endorsed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Trade (MFAET) to facilitate the work of NTDC on December 20th 2012, comprised of representatives from various Government Ministries, private sector organizations and non-governmental organisations.
“It is chaired by the Minister for Foreign Affairs and External Trade Honourable Milner Tozaka and reports to Cabinet through the Minister as and when determined necessary by the Council, but not less than once in a year.”
Speaking during the opening of the meeting, the chairman of the council and Minister of Foreign Affairs and External Trade (MFAET) Hon. Milner Tozaka told members that he was pleased to see the commitment of members to attend the NTDC meeting, which is a key forum to discuss and decide on important issues of Trade and development in this country.
“I am confident that the deliberation of this Council will enable us to maximize the benefits of global trading opportunities.
“I would also like to convey my sincere appreciation and deep gratitude for the support provided by our development partners particularly for trade and development of the country.
“As members of the NTDC, you’re to oversee and provide guidance and oversight on the issues relating to trade development processes including trade policy formulation and implementation, trade mainstreaming into national development plans and ensure effective coordination and buy-in among various Government institutions, the private sector, civil society, development partners and other stakeholders, in Solomon Islands,” Hon. Tozaka said.
Hon Tozaka also took the opportunity to welcome the new Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Trade, Peter Kenilorea Junior.
During the meeting, members of the council were given updates on the various trade negotiations Solomon Islands is a party to, such as EPA, MSGTA3, and Pacer Plus.
Members were also briefed by officials who recently returned from a two week PIFS funded trade data training attachment to various Fiji Government agencies.
This marks the first peer attachment program focused on trade policy development in the Pacific region and is a result of recommendations emanating from the Solomon Islands National Trade Policy Framework established in 2015.
The Framework and the Peer Learning was formulated with funding provided by the European Union through the Pacific Integration Technical Assistance Project (PITAP), which is implemented by the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat.
The NTDC as the steering committee for the Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF), were also briefed on the ongoing work of the Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF) tier two project which assisted SINU, SIVB, SIWIBA and eight local eco-tourism operators. NTDC also oversees the monitoring of implementation of EIF programmes and processes in country.