The Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SICCI) through its Export Industry Development Department in collaboration with the SCALE Trade and Investment Facilitation Project from 9-10 February 2023 successfully rolled out a two-day training on Market Identification and Trade Negotiation for local export ready businesses in Solomon Islands.

SICCI’s Export Industry Development Department overseas activities in the Agribusiness sector.

As the peak body representing private sector in the Solomon Islands, SICCI has agreed to partner with USAID Trade & Investment to work together on rolling out a series of export trainings for the benefit of SICCI members, especially those who are export ready.

In total there are five trainings planned for 2023, the first was delivered in November 2022. Last week’s training hosted at the Mendana Hotel in Honiara was the second of the series.

SICCI’s Export Industry Development Officer (EIDO), Mr Ronnie Golopitu believes that this training will add value to the private sector moving forward.

“The training aims to support Solomon Islands export-ready businesses to engage effectively in export promotion efforts. Participants learned the inclusive approach to identifying potential US markets and their standards, requirements, and export protocols in place,” Mr Golopitu said.

SCALE Trade and Investment Facilitation Project Team Leader, Mr Peter Forau acknowledge the commitment of participating businesses to promote the prosperity of Solomon Islands.

“As private businesses what you do separately combines to ensure a healthy, vibrant and competitive private sector,” he said.

Mr Forau highlighted that the Project Team values its close relationship with the private sector and SICCI.

“By improving the business enabling environment for increasing trade and investment and focusing on the export of agricultural goods, the Solomon Islands private sector will boost its already pivotal position as the engine for growth for the local economy,” Mr Forau said.

“The training covered a variety of topics related to market identification and trade negotiations, such as, how to choose which market to focus on, and the strategies to identify your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and potential struggles when entering a market,” he added.

Mr Forau said the US supports the private sector of the Solomon Islands in engaging in local markets and developing linkages between Solomon Islands and abroad.

“This is one reason why we will gather over the next few months and in future training sessions to strengthen the private sector in Solomon Islands and promote export of key commodities,” he said.

Mr Forau thank SICCI for its continued cooperation and collaboration with the SCALE activity on developing this training series and the Chamber’s dedication in promoting Solomon Islands as a whole in the global market.

“We look forward to continued engagement and collaboration with the Solomon Islands private sector as well as work and building and sustaining a more free, open, prosperous, secure and resilient Solomon Islands,” he said.

Mr Golopitu, who heads SICCI’s Export Industry Development Department, highlighted that technically, engaging in export business in Solomon Islands is quite tough, time consuming and costly, given that various export agencies have different export obligation that have to be followed before any export can be successful.

He said exporters face many challenges when it comes to getting their products to the right markets.

“Understanding export pathways can be complex and meeting the right product quality standards has to be properly enhanced, given that most international market requires certain certification that entails product quality assurance and export standards. That is an expensive exercise if an exporter is looking to pursue a good market and better returns,” Mr Golopitu said.

“It is the buyer and the consumer that determines the type of product specification for their market due to customer choices and preferences, as such, businesses have to be well informed on information about certain products,” he added.

Mr Golopitu said during last week’s training, export businesses in Solomon Islands learned the practical approaches to conducting end market analysis, creating market linkages and possible ways the exporters could follow to access the trade related activities across the agricultural value chain.

He said the case of trade agreements and policy are complex.

“There is a need for information transparency and good communication between those who set the rules (Government) and those who use the rules in practice (Businesses),” he said.

Meanwhile SICCI acknowledge the training facilitator and the Director of Marketing and Promotion and Export Division from the Ministry of Commerce for enlightening the private sector on the SIG’s direction and support assistance in the export space.

SICCI also welcomes USAID Scale’s keenness on sending some export-ready businesses to Trade Fairs so that they could effectively learn from other successful businesses both regionally and internationally.

-SICCI Media

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