20 Sep 2007

Solomon Islands identifies need to build capacity in its export sector

3:23 pm on 20 September 2007

The Solomon Islands foreign minister, Patteson Oti, says preferrential market treatment does not address the trade imbalance faced by his country.

Speaking at a Asian Development Bank-sponsored conference, Mr Oti says difficulties are created by Solomon Islands' large distance from its main trading partners and the low volume of goods that transit along its most important trading routes.

Furthermore, he says, his country faces high costs of telecommunications and domestic transport.

Mr Oti also says the small domestic market prevents Solomon Islands' firms from exploiting economies of scale locally to reduce their costs before moving into the more competitive world of international trade.

He says instead, a programme of trade facilitation, in part financed by international donors is needed to build capacity in the private sector as well as to streamlinie government departments.