Solomon Islands will benefit from non-reciprocal duty free trade access to the markets of the Peoples Republic of China (PRC).
This opportunity will now become reality following the formal exchange of letters today between the Governments of the Solomon Islands and the PRC.
Foreign Minister Jeremiah Manele, today signed and exchanged letters with the Resident Ambassador of PRC in Honiara to mark this new development that will serve the deepen and materialise part of the agreements through which both Solomon Islands and PRC had committed to continue to build and grow cooperation since the two countries established relations in September 2019.
The non-reciprocal preferential market access to be secured under this arrangement will be available for the Solomon Islands until its graduation from the least developing country (LDC) category in 2024.
In discussions between Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Trade and the Embassy of PRC, it was agreed that the fostering of trade relations between the countries would serve to galvanize bilateral relations through economic and trade cooperation at the bilateral front.
For Solomon Islands, the opening of non-reciprocal duty free trade access to the PRC market marks the ongoing progress in work towards securing guaranteed market openings with main trading partners. This is important for when Solomon Islands graduates from LDC status at the end of 2024. The Peoples Republic of China is number destination for exports and number 3 source of imports into Solomon Islands.
Discussions between MFAET and Embassy of PRC representatives also agreed that to facilitate the smooth implementation of measures that will be required for non-reciprocal duty free access, support will be provided to develop the capacity of implementing agencies and as well to address broader trade development issues and needs.
Both Solomon Islands and the representatives of the Embassy of the PRC also agreed that discussions and work will also assume soon explore the establishment of longer-term bilateral trading arrangements between the two countries. Such an agreement will serve to guarantee Solomon Islands market access interests into the Chinese market post when it graduates from LDC status into a middle-income developing country as from 2025 onwards.
The current granting of non-reciprocal duty free market access being offered to Solomon Islands is a fulfilment by the Government of the PRC of a WTO Ministerial Conference decision in 2005 for WTO members, to accord Least Developing Countries (LDCs), duty-free and concessional access to their markets