Solomons, Vanuatu Officials Discuss Provincial Trade Deal

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Neighboring Torba, Temotu areas ‘share much in common’

By Godwin Ligo

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, May 1, 2013) – In informal discussions between Solomon Islands Foreign Affairs Minister, Clay Forau Soalaoi, and Vanuatu Paama MP and First Deputy Speaker of Parliament Jonas James in Honiara last Saturday, Forau expressed his keen interest to see Trade Agreement between Temotu Province in the Solomon Islands and Torba Province in Vanuatu signed as soon as it can be agreed upon by the Vanuatu Government.

The Solomon Islands Foreign Affairs Minister said the reason for this is because the two Provinces of Temotu in the Solomon Islands and Torba Province in Vanuatu, while being closest to one another, are both faced with similar problems of irregular shipping visits, long term lack of basic general goods supplies, and government services that make the life of the people in the two provinces difficult.

He said the draft trade agreement between the two countries’ most remote provinces have been in place for some years and all it needs now is for the present Vanuatu Government to approve the trade agreement and have it signed by the countries’ provinces of Temotu and Torba.

Temotu Province is closer to Torba than to Honiara and Torba is closer to Temotu than to Port Vila or even to Luganville on Santo.

The two leaders agreed that the two countries’ most remote provinces from their seat of respective governments share much in common.

During their informal discussions they ventured into such possibilities as sharing a shipping line under the trade agreement between the two provinces, trade timber, fish, beef, pigs, coconut crabs, nambo breadfruits (preserved) for cyclone seasons, kava and other, local crops.

"We want to see improvement in the life of our people and belief that such trade agreement between our two countries will enhance the standard of living amongst our people," the Solomon Islands Foreign Affairs Minister Forau expressed in their informal meeting with Vanuatu Paama MP last Saturday morning in Honiara.

Vanuatu Paama MP and Parliamentary First Deputy Speaker Jonas James assured Minister Forau that he will formally take this up with the Vanuatu Minister of Foreign Affairs, Edward Natapei and Prime Minister Moana carcasses Kalosil when he returns to Port Vila.

MP James even emphasized an interest to see such a Provincial Trade Agreement also include Malampa and other provinces in Vanuatu depending on the leaders in those provinces and the national government agreement and approval.

The Solomon Islands Foreign Affairs Minister who is from the island of Tikopia in Temotu Province said he will be more than willing to undertake the signing at a time agreed upon by the Vanuatu Government.

Solomon Islands celebrated the MSG Silver Jubilee last week in Honiara and one of the important agendas on one of the Panel Discussions was the Trade Agreement between the Solomon Islands and other MSG countries.

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