Solomon Islands has presented its third trade policy review report to the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Geneva on this week.
A statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Trade (MFAET) said, trade policy reviews are an important exercise of the WTO to foster transparency of the different measures practised by WTO members.
“The exercise are usually conducted by the trade policy review division of the WTO, in which member countries’ trade and related policies are examined and evaluated.”
Solomon Islands last presented its policy review to the WTO in 2009.
The report consists of detailed chapters examining the trade policy measures and practices of Solomon Islands and describing trade policymaking institutions and the macroeconomic situation.
When delivering the country’s review report, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and External Trade Hon. Milner Tozaka addressed the WTO members saying that this exercise gives Solomon Islands the opportunity to show not only the WTO members but also the world the progress that SI have made during the review period (2009-2015) to implement policy measures that will not only boost our trading capacity, but also enhance our economic growth prospects.
“We recognize this process as an important activity to promote transparency in our government processes, and safeguard the effective functioning of the multilateral trading system.
“Solomon Islands’ remains deeply committed to opening up our trading regime for evaluation and scrutiny in order to promote and encourage further reforms that will strengthen our obligations under the WTO.
“Since the last Trade Policy Review in 2009, the Government of Solomon Islands has continued to pursue policies and reforms aimed at improving the economic and social livelihoods of our people, to reduce poverty and promote sustained and inclusive economic growth.
“Reforms to increase investment opportunities, to encourage greater participation of the private sector, and reinvigorate productive and resource sectors, are just some of the efforts underway to achieve these commendable ambitions,” Hon Tozaka said in his statement.
All WTO Members are subject to review with the frequency of review depending on the country’s size, and it’s usually undertaken for the purpose of transparency and accountability which is one of the main pillars of the WTO as the only multilateral rules based organisation
As an LDC, Solomon Islands Trade policy is reviewed every six years.
Minister Tozaka is being accompanied to the meeting by his Acting Permanent Secretary M Joseph Maahanua, Director of External Trade George Tuti, Director of Tourism Barney Sivoro, Director for Investment Derrick Aihari, chief trade officer at the Department of External Trade Ms. Natalia Patternot and Trade Policy Analyst Victoria Allard.
The Solomon Island Charge De Affairs Mr. Barret Salato who is based in Geneva is also assisting the delegation.